On today’s episode of Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent. We’re continuing one of my favorite conversations about real estate with my guest, TJ McGraw McGraw from the Atlanta Georgia area. This is a continuation of one of my favorite conversations, part one, which if you haven’t listened to that, do that first. That is where TJ interviews me about my experience and my story and all of the takeaways, kind of that I’ve learned over the 18 years at this point in my real estate career. And today we’re flipping the script. I’m interviewing TJ. He’s a newer agent but doing some big things in the real estate world for himself and in his market.
And here’s what he shares. And the takeaways will be for this episode. First, How to take what you learned from your past career, no matter what you did before becoming an agent, and apply those skills to being a successful real estate agent. I love what TJ shares about this. Also, we talk about What to do when you feel overwhelmed, how not to let it stop you. Why comparing yourself with other real estate agents, especially in the beginning is really going to lead you down the wrong path and what to do to get back on the right path on your path when that happens and How to create your OWN version of success in real estate, and stop looking around at what everybody else is doing, What to expect when you are first starting out, especially how long it’s going to take to figure this whole thing out.
It’s going to take longer than we are led to believe before we come become real estate agents. I know I got caught up in that in the beginning, we talked through what Your number one job is as a real estate agents, probably not the job that you think you have, What to tell yourself when you get rejected, which WILL happen a lot as a real estate agent and The mindset shifts you must make to go from newbie to successful in this business. And we cover so much more. I hope and think that you will enjoy this part too, of a really in-depth conversation with the two real estate agents kind of opposite ends of their career, and really have different ways of approaching their businesses.
But the common things we haven’t, the things we have in common, or the way we think about our businesses ourselves and real estate. So listen in, I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it helps you on your journey wherever you Are. Welcome to this episode of Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent. I’m your host, Jennifer Myers, listen in, as I share exactly what I did to go from not being able to sell a house for years to becoming one of the top 1% of agents in the US even opening my own brokerage full of agents helped me serve all the clients that were coming my way. I taught those agents the same strategies I use. And date two became top producing agents. Now through this podcast in Asia grad school.com, I’m sharing those same modern marketing and business strategies with you.
Most of which I learned from looking outside of the real estate industry, no fluff, no, no outdated sales techniques or paying for leads, just the exact steps to get you the real estate business you’ve always wanted. And the life outside your business, you’ve always wanted to let’s make it happen and dive into today’s episode. Welcome to this episode of Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent. I’m your host, Jennifer Myers, listen in, as I share exactly what I did to go from not being able to sell a house for years to becoming one of the top 1% of agents in the US even opening my own brokerage full of agents helped me serve all the clients that were coming my way.
I taught those agents the same strategies I used and date two became top producing agents. Now through this podcast and age and grade school.com, I’m sharing those same modern marketing and business strategies with you. Most of which I learned from looking outside of the real estate industry, no fluff, no theory, no outdated sales techniques or paying for leads, just the exact steps to get you the real estate business you’ve always wanted. And the life outside your business, you’ve always wanted to let’s make it happen and dive into today’s episode. Hey, TJ, thanks so much for being on the podcast. Welcome. Thank you, Jennifer.
And it’s a pleasure. Thanks so much for inviting me. Awesome. So one reason I wanted to talk to you. I think you have a really inspirational story about how you came to be a real estate agent and the way that you think about being a real estate agent. And so I’d love to talk about how you kind of your past life before you were an agent and how you applied those kinds of skills and experiences to your real estate business, even though it seems like there’s no connection there. Yeah, most definitely. Well, it, it, it starts way back a long time ago when I was kind of floating through life, not, not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up and I kind of fell into the restaurant business.
So I started at the bottom and up going to culinary school, then, you know, went and got my bachelor’s in and food and beverage management and ended up working for about 20 years total in the restaurant business, the hospitality too, kind of wake up one day and realized that it wasn’t really my passion. It took me 20 years to figure that out. Well, there were certain aspects of it that I loved. Absolutely, but they’re long hours. And, and I know a lot of people have been in the restaurant business, whether its as a server or a cook or it’s its kind of one of the stepping stone jobs when you’re younger, I just kinda got stuck in it and kept pursuing my career that like I said, turned out to not be my passion.
So long story short, I ended up most recently running a restaurant in Midtown, Atlanta, the high-end seafood place. And I just was, was not feeling it wasn’t, it was not passionate about it. Like I said, I was, I was, I would sit in my car before going into work and, and just dreading to go and walk in and those doors and S and I was the boss. I was like, I was like the one that everybody had to look to for like inspiration and motivation and all of that. So it was really difficult for me to muster that up. And it was just, I was living somebody else’s goals, basically what it boiled down to. And that’s one of my things since then is, you know, really making sure that your goals are your own neck.
I’m going to touch on that too. And after a little bit here, but so I left, I say I burnt the boats. I had quit my job. It was great. I left on really great terms, but it, it was this is not for me, you know, I didn’t leave. I didn’t leave an opportunity to like, yeah, maybe I’ll come back and work for y’all at a later date. It was, this is not for me. I’m going to go do something else. Okay. Stop there for a minute, because that is such a courageous step. A lot of our listeners are in that job that maybe they’re hearing that whisper. I think that’s what I call it. The whisper that you probably heard when you were sitting in your car and you’re just like, it’s just not for me, but so many people feel tied to that past life or, you know, you and correct me if I’m wrong.
And like you have a family you ever prepped, you were like the breadwinner of the family. You have responsibilities, you couldn’t leave like wake up one day and quit your job. So how did you make that decision? Yeah, it was, it was, it was a tough one. I know I’ve been having conversations with my boss essentially about the, not necessarily my performance with the performance of the restaurant and the numbers. Because as soon as the leader of the day of the unit, you’re very much responsible for how that unit is performing. And it really just came out of kind of like, I’m just not feeling this. And I decided to come clean with my boss because I like to think that I operate from a place of ethics.
And I knew that they were going to figure it out sooner or later that I just wasn’t into it. So I thought it was the right thing to do for them. But more importantly, it was the right thing to do for me. And I just, it is that gut feeling that you just know that there’s, you have to do something and, and, and, and, and it’s been four and to pay attention to that gut feeling to it. And it’s scary. It’s very scary, especially when you have, and I have two kids and, and a wife and a mortgage and the car payments at the time. And, and not, you know, there wasn’t, there was a little bit of money saved, but there was not like this big balloon of money that I could fall back on. So it was, or, you know, go back to the restaurant business, which wasn’t going to happen.
So, yeah. And then, in essence, it’s really, I’m the type of person that if I have a backup plan, I’m not that motivated for my original plan. So it’s like they say, if the best way to fail is to have a plan, or plan when you have a plan B, plan B always becomes your plan A. I just kinda took off, got my real estate license. I did take a little job and, and like running a hospital kitchen for a little while just to get, get through getting my real estate license. And as soon as I got my real estate license and I quit that job as well, and it was tough. I mean, there is nothing else I can say about that.
It was scary, but it was so exhilarating. And I knew, you know, deep down that I have, I was taking the right step and you just have to have faith that, when you walk up to the grocery store, that door just opens up. Never fails if the grocery store is open, but we’ll pretend it’s a lot of them are 24 hours. So when you walk up to the door, the motion detector opens that door up for you. And we just kind of have faith in that. And that’s just how, of how I looked at it with you. No, I’m leaving the restaurant business and, and going all in, on, on real estate. Yeah. I think you said a lot of important things. Number one, having a plan B like having that toe half in half out, like you’re not going to be successful.
If you have that mentality, it’s not going to work. But also, I think what’s so tremendous about this story is that you believed in yourself, you believed that you could pull it off and with that kind of mindset and mentality, you can. Yeah. And there were, there were days that it was real tough to believe in myself, but, and, and this is an important, in a good time to mention that if you’re going to do this and you’re going to take it and start something new and your life, or the new adventure, like find somebody that’s done it. And in at least have tried to build a relationship with somebody who’s done it before you, because I had a mentor, a real estate coach from bright from the get-go just cause I realized the importance of it.
I knew that I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Yeah. So many people trying to figure it out and their own and we believe in yourself, but you got the help and support you needed at the same time. Yeah. And, and I that’s, that’s the kind of an important thing there is to have it. And even if you don’t have a, like a direct mentor, at least surround yourself with people who are, who are trying to be better tomorrow than they were today, because you can definitely feed off of that. And, and, and they’re going to give you positive reinforcement. And like I said, you can borrow that confidence from somebody else until your confidence. It builds enough to be able to run with it yourself. Awesome. Yeah. So, okay. You had the belief, you had a hard work ethic, obviously.
Cause if you’re working in the restaurant business, you get like working hard, working late, working long, like you get the people thing. What was your, okay, so you, you listened to your whisper, he listened to that gut and you believed in yourself, you got help, but what was your actual plan like you actually had to make money? Yeah, Definitely. So believe it or not, the reason I wanted to get into real estate is because I’ve been itching to get into investing for a very long time. And just for whatever reason, I just didn’t pull the trigger on it. Probably mostly limiting beliefs and a scarcity mindset that I just didn’t have. The money didn’t have the time. So that’s one of the reasons I decided to go all in. I didn’t have the know-how or the resources to pull from through jump right into investing.
So I thought the next best thing, and to learn the industry and to really get close to it was to get my license. So I’m not sure if I’m answering the question. Yeah. So How were you… so that was your plan to have an income? Like what were your, what was your plan to like get clients and have an income to support your family and replace your income? Well, I just thought, I thought that, you know, as soon as I got my real estate license, that everybody would be beaten down the door to no, that did not happen. And that’s when that’s about the same time that I realized, like I need to get a coach too, so I can get a little bit of a headstart basically purchase that gap of, of time and the information, like just trade a little bit of money for, to get caught up with some of that time.
And know-how, so that was the big thing. So yeah, and I mean, it took a while and I actually partnered up with one of my friends who had his real estate license. We partnered together being very naive at the time of the sound sounds silly that I call myself naive I’m at the age that I am, but I was naive. And I partnered up with this guy, a good friend of mine. And we just didn’t know what it meant to be in a partnership and sell real estate. It was, it was like we started off 50/50, and then he had been doing it for a while. So he had deals, he was working with a builder and I wasn’t bringing in deals. So it was kind of, I was helping him with his deals, but I wasn’t bringing in any deals.
I was, I was still surrounded by a lot of ’em like naysaying and, and all of that doesn’t work or, or you’re taking a risk. And it really wasn’t until I kind of really got away from all that, that I really started to, to find success and, and bring in money. I was getting deals here and there, but nothing, you know, nothing like until I left that situation, moved into a more positive collaborative environment with, you know, joint masterminds with people that are outside of real estate and, you know, just sinking into self-improvement that I’ve always been a student of for, for a very long time. And I think that’s why I was able to be so successful in the restaurant business and then translating it into the real estate business.
It was a little tough, it was a little learning curve there. And I did find myself in a position where I was chasing after the goals. That weren’t my own again. And I’m looking at the, the big mega agent’s in my market, which is with the wraps move-in trucks. And you know, that it seems like there’s a sign. Every other yard sign is, is, is that team, you know? And so I, I spent a lot of money on, you know, online leads and, and things like that. And just, I mean, we get there and talk all day of everything I tried would probably take up the whole podcast episode, but so I tried a lot of different things trying to be this, this big mega agent who I wasn’t really, I didn’t have the relationship with at the time.
And so I wasn’t really sure. No, I didn’t think of it. This is at the time, I wasn’t really sure how her and her team were doing that stuff. I just knew that she was doing it. And I felt like I had to do that too. So once I figured all that stuff out, I mean, and it really, it, it freed me up, freed up my mind to really be open to what, how I worked best and getting into like my flow. And that’s when things really started to happen. So How did you find this, first of all, like, let’s talk time. How long was it until you kind of found your flow? You tried all this different stuff, which is very typical. I did the same thing too. I tried everything just was like, not clicking. It’s not that it wasn’t going to work or not.
And it was just like, it didn’t feel like me. And so how long did that take you and then what, how did you finally figure out what your flow was? And did you just figure out how to you and your business? Well, it’s, it’s a lot of, it’s like discouragement of me not getting anywhere was really, you know, trial and error kind of came to it. And I’m still on the journey, to be honest with you, it’s, it’s still a work in progress for sure. And, but I feel like I’m much further along right now than I was. And I would say it took me about, it took me about two years to a year and a half to really, you know, get to understand like what I, didn’t, what I knew I didn’t want to do.
And I mean, I got, and you know, a dialer and I was circled island neighborhoods. That’s really just, that’s just, that was painful. That was like, I would get down to the end of the day. And I’m, you know, if you do, if you notice anything about personality type of testing and all of that stuff, like Meyers-Briggs and all that, I’m an introvert, every personality test I get to introvert. So imagine me at the end of a day of cold calling, you know, and 300 homes. Yeah. I wasn’t present for my family. Yeah. It was, it was horrible. So I knew there has to be a better way. So a year and a half, maybe two years you found your flow, you found your rhythm, which I think is something too, for everybody listening, who’s new or thinking about jumping off this.
And I always tell agents who are brand new, have a year, give yourself a full year minimum. Well, first of all, have a year of savings because you’re going to need it. But yeah, for sure. Right. I think so often, and I don’t know why this is the case and the real estate, and maybe this was my case, but again, now that I know what I, no, I don’t why I thought this. And maybe you felt this way too, but I just thought when you became a real estate agent, you had a ton of time and time and money and everything was going to be like easy. That’s not at all what happened, It’s not. And, and one of the biggest reasons I left the restaurant and it’s just because I was working 70 hours a week and I didn’t see my family very much. So as an agent of the number one, I don’t want to say myth because you can do it.
But if you make your own schedule and that’s, that’s, you have to be really disciplined and you have to really know what the tasks are that you need to work on every day in order to make your own schedule. It’s like, yes, you make your own schedule. But that doesn’t mean your whole schedule is full of free time. And, and all of that, you still have to like give yourself hours to work and, and, and be laser-focused on the tasks that are going to get clients. And then someone once told me your number one job, as they asked me and say, what do you think the number one job is as an agent? And I’m like, well, you help people through transactions. No. And he’s like, no, now it’s your number one job is to find a client. That’s it?
Because you’re not going to be helping anybody. If you don’t have any clients, so, And perspective yeah. Job, number one, then you need to help clients and create a great experience. So they want to come back and see, and you don’t have to go find clients. But yeah, it’s, I always just thought that part was going to happen. I never really like until I understood a year or two in just like you, but that doesn’t just happen. So for all of you agents listening, whether you’re a brand new agent or thinking of becoming an agent, or maybe you’re in that depths of year and a half where you’re still feeling like you don’t have this. Right. I hear from so many clients from so many agents who said, I tried everything and I’m like, keep trying stuff, keep trying more things. Because if you want to be successful at this, you can find your peak path of success just because you tried one or two things, or you’ve been trying things for a year or two, like, you know, TJ like me, it took me four years, four years trying things until it worked.
So let’s talk a little bit about the mindset that you have this whole time. And the two things I love about your story. And when we, when we talk, not when there’s microphones in our faces, two things that really resonate with me and is number one, I think you, you use your past experience as somebody in the restaurant business, the servant, what’d you call it the service and you apply that piece to your real estate business. So I want to talk about that. And then I also want to talk about, you have this somehow, even as a new agent, you somehow realize that you needed to think about your real estate business as an entrepreneur, which I think so many real estate agents don’t see that connection.
They think I’m a real estate agent and they don’t think I’m a business owner. So I want to talk about both things, which one? Yeah. You pick Out first, well, let’s go with having a servant’s heart and really having that, that passion to serve others. And that’s definitely one thing that I had in the restaurant business. That was part of me. It’s definitely something that is true to me. So that translates very well. And oftentimes, and I actually, just, before this, I had a, I was in a meeting we were talking about when, when a seller or a buyer decides they’re not going to move forward and they want to cancel their agreement with you.
My take on it is it doesn’t matter if you paid a couple hundred bucks to take pictures of the house, you know, and you spend some money back in time. It’s really, you just have to put your pride in your pocket. And I don’t mean to be a pushover. I just mean there’s really no room for pride in that moment because it just, I know that anytime, like my pride really shines, you know, and, and I say that in a, you know, being a little bit facetious, it doesn’t, it definitely not. I’m not shining in those moments. And you can tell that like, I’m the scarcity mindset that’s coming out. And then that’s all kind of the associated round with the pride of me and be proud of yourself and be confident in what you’re doing.
But because you, no, you don’t know what’s going on. And they’re like, why they changed their mind. Maybe they didn’t get that job. They thought they were going to get you no moving across the country. So they’re not going to be selling now. And there could be a number of reasons, but it doesn’t much matter. The fact of the matter is that you are there to protect their interest at all costs and be a fiduciary representative for them. And if, if they decided they’re not going to sell and you have to support that and, and, and move on. And so that was kind of a long way to talk about, you know, having a servant heart, but it’s really, even in the times that are, that seem tough. And when people really test you, that’s the time when the servant heart really comes out.
And because most people even, you know, they go out to eat or they go to fast food or they go to get a coffee somewhere. And if there’s any little issue, oftentimes people are afraid to say anything because they feel like they’re going to be in a fight with the person that they’re either complaining to or complaining about. So my mentality in the restaurant business and my mentality now is if there’s a problem and if there’s an issue, or if there’s a perception of an issue, even it doesn’t matter whose fault or, or how it happened, the fact of matter it’s here and we just need to solve it and get past it. And then, and you know, I might reflect on it myself and say, how could I have handled that differently?
And so that doesn’t happen again, but I mean forward-facing you just have to be genuine and just genuinely want to get through the problem through the issue. And I think that goes in such a long way with people. I think I do think I’ve gotten referrals from that attitude with people that I haven’t actually closed with and they’ve, they’ve sent me other clients. So it does work for sure. And one thing, and as you’re talking, you know, I didn’t think about it when you say the word, like a servant heart, or I think about, you know, serving people that passion to serve people. But when I hear, I heard you say without you quite saying, it was like, it’s not about you. It’s not even it’s about them. And it’s about the situation.
And like, I love what you said about putting your pride in your pocket, right? Like it’s not about you, it’s not about the fact that you worked so hard and you took the poll photos. It’s about them and maybe their life situation changed entirely, you know? Okay. Yeah. And maybe not. And maybe they’re just, maybe they’re just, you know, they just are those people that just changed their mind a lot and not sure what they want, but still it’s at the end of the day. It isn’t about, and it’s not about me at all. It’s about, it’s about them. And I, and I’m, I’m thankful for someone who even considered me enough to sign an agreement with me, you know, if they changed their mind, then why am I gonna, you know, betray that, that trust they originally had.
Yeah. That’s a great way to look at it. That’s a great way to look at it. And what other ways maybe give us one other way that you applied? No, I always talk to the agents. You can be as strong just because you’re new. Doesn’t give you an excuse to not kind of come to the real estate table with something from your past that you can use as fuel and the real estate business. And so give us one other way that you kind of applied what you learned, kind of the restaurant business. Maybe it’s this servant heart to real estate, even when you were brand new. Yeah. This is this one’s easy. Listen, just listen, ask questions. I know I’ve seen agents and agents have taught me when, when I was new that you go in and you, you have your, your resume all out with shiny glossy listing presentation and you spew verbal resume all over them and they don’t really give them a chance to talk.
Like I go into whether it’s a buyer consultation or I’m meeting somebody for the first time at a home that we’re looking at, or if it’s a listing presentation and it’s like, okay, well tell me about what’s going on in, in your life. And I try to ask questions more about you of course the house, but like, what is their situation? Because you often hear pain points that they have and the true reasons, if you can get, you can get them talking and, and ask and really be, you know, genuinely concerned for their situation. Then it’s so much easier for you to take care of that. And then you just, you know, you work towards the pain points. And I always ask you if people have sold the house before, I always say, well, you know how the agent that you worked with, like, what were the things that you loved about how the agent worked and what are the things that, that you might have wished that he, he or she did better.
And that gives me it. You just get all that. You just collect all that data basically, and why you use it too, provide the best service you can that’s to those clients. So listening and listening to the big thing, because oftentimes when someone complains at, at a restaurant and there’s just, there’s been a misunderstanding or miscommunication, and they’re not feeling like they’re heard. So that’s the key. And that’s another thing too. If somebody is really upset, the fastest way to diffuse them is to listen, empathize and, you know, try to get to go straight to how are we going to fix this? You know, that’s great. And real restaurant and real estate, those have them feel heard.
And how are we going to fix it? Yeah. Because it’s such an emotional, you know, there’s such an emotional attachment to, you know, people’s homes where they’ve spent years of their life. If they’re selling it, or there’s an emotional attachment to this excitement of buying a new house. And plus, there’s a lot of money. I mean, it’s not simple, and you’re not buying a pack of gum. It’s, you know, you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yeah. And not just that you’re creating a life, you know, like you’re, it’s yes, it’s a big financial piece, but you’re also, it’s like I, life is on the line here where I raise my kids and the, how I get to work and all of these factors it’s a life.
So yeah. I love what you said. And when in, in Asia grad school, we don’t have a listing presentation. We teach a listing consultation. We don’t, you know, present, there is no resume, nobody on this planet and including the people who, who present in that way or do a listing presentation, nobody wants to be presented to, nobody wants to be, have that verbal resume. And then here, how great the other person is at their job, there’s a way to do that by showing them by starting with the listing presentation, with a listing conversation and showing what makes you different, why they should choose you instead of telling them. So I love that you, you might have learned kind of the traditional way, and you’re like, wait a second.
No, I know that what has brought me success in the past is asking questions, listening to the solution and applying that even though you might be being taught by these kind of mega people that pre presenting and, you know, kind of leading without great are what’s the way to do it. And some, some can be really successful doing that. I just, I know that my tongue is definitely not silver, so I need to, the less I talk the better, that’s what, that’s how I look at it. And so, All right now, and talk to us. How did you even come so quickly as a newer agent?
How did you get to the point where you realized that you’re not just a real estate agent, you’re actually a business owner, you’re an entrepreneur. Can you talk about that? Yeah, I think, well, partially they, the season I am in life, you know, and I’m not old by any means, this is just over 40. So it’s a, I guess once you get 40 and you start losing your eyesight and you start reflecting on what you’ve done with your life, but I’ve always had a drive to be my own, to own my own business. And, and years ago it was restaurant and deep down the stairs. There’s definitely something. Now I know that because it just wasn’t, it wasn’t my passion, but there’s definitely something preventing me from pursuing that in any way.
And I just kept like working for other people. But what I did realize getting into the business there, I like to observe and, and see what everybody else is doing. And, and one of my original things, as you remember, was I wanted to get into investing. So I finally was just like, well, I just need to get into investing. And I’m going to start doing things a little bit differently than just chasing a transaction is chasing a trend. Action is stressful. It’s you get you, you’re stuck with this scarcity mindset of, you know, as soon as you close you, you’re unemployed and you gotta go get hired again. And it’s just a roller coaster ride. So it definitely, yeah. The pursuit of being, having a little more steady income and really, you know, being in control of that a little more so.
And w what it boiled down to, I know I talk about goals a lot, and in fact, and really I’m not of just pursuit to, to really master how to make goals and attain those goals and what I’ve discovered just through, like I said before, I know I geek out on, on self-improvement books and podcasts and all that stuff. So I really had to sit down and think about what my values are. I mean, like what I value in life and what I really want, what my vision for myself in the future and my family, and it really boiled down to, I definitely value time with my family. I would certainly value financial freedom or value, like freedom from debt, for sure.
I mean, not that I’m, you know, I’m not crazy in debt, but there’s one of the cars and still has payments and I have a house payment and all that stuff, I would like to eliminate that. And really it is so speed of implementation, I think is one of the things I just came to this realization, like, yeah, I don’t have hundreds of transactions under my belt, but I do have a fair number of transactions. And why can’t I start a team now? And, you know, because I’m a great manager, I’ve, you know, I’ve learned how to do it in the restaurant business. I’m still paying for my student loans for my degree in management.
So yeah. Yeah. You can manage people I can manage, I can manage and, and, and I’ll speak to the, yeah. And, and also, cause there’s, I do want to make the point about that, and as far as the start of the team, but so I really, I thought, well, it’s better to have a piece of a bunch of transactions rather than have a hundred percent of the limiting, the limited amount of transactions that I can do, because I know that I value my time with my family and, and all that. And it, and that sounds kind like, I don’t know if selfish has the right word or, you know, I’m not trying to be, I’m not trying to make money off the backs of other people, because I like to, my thing is I want to provide as much of a value.
And I want to give back to agents that, that decided that they trust me to join my team, that I’m giving them as much as I possibly can in the way of self-development and really getting them to think like an entrepreneur and getting them to go and, and start their own team one day, or get into investing or do whatever they, whatever they’re passionate about is so, because I’ve been through this journey and I’m in the journey of discovering exactly what I want, what my vision is for my future of my family’s future, and you know, how I wanna get there and the way I want to operate. So I want to pass that along in a great way to where I can impact agents in a positive way and make them, or help them be better real estate agents.
And in thinking more success and more in a more success-minded way. And, and for that, I mean, that’s, you know, that’s, it’s a little bit of a trade-off, so they, they get a ton of value, more value than I’m taking from them is really how kind of look at it. So I’m not sure if that answered the, answered the question in its entirety. Yeah. I think it was a great start. I mean, a couple of things that, you know, I think about as you were talking was, number one, you follow what your, what your strengths were and are, right? Like, you know, that you’re the manager, you were successful that, and that in your past life, you have a degree in it. And you’re saying to yourself, okay, this is my path in real estate.
Like, I can be a good manager for people. Cause by the way, like a good manager, whether it’s at a restaurant or, you know, a Fortune 500 company isn’t. And, and let me be clear for team leaders who are doing it, not this way. Like, it’s not that you’re trying to just like, I forget the words you used, be on the backs of other people’s hard work or something like that. That’s not actually being a good manager of being a good manager is so many other things to make this whole operation run smoothly. So that there’s this cohesive group that runs the front of the house, the back of the house, you know, customer service gets the food out. And so being a good manager is about creating that system almost, and that, that environment for other people to thrive, right.
It’s A good case. And the case and point I’m a very good example is that I, even though I spent almost 20 years in food service and restaurant business, I am the worst server that you want the worst. And like, you would not want me to wait on you. And this is so funny because I’m like a, and when I was working in restaurants, I was the best server, no desire to manage people. Like if you can make a team like a team to manage, like, I don’t want to manage the people. I love being the server. I love being the doer. So what’s so interesting about that is, and why I love real estate is because you can really decide like, like for you, TJ it’s management, like, and for me, it’s being front and center with the clients.
That’s where my like, wheelhouses, I can really make an impact there and talk and be successful in our own. Yeah. But as, as I know about myself, that I’m not a good server. I also know that I’m not a great buyers’ agent. And I can’t really handle how this is going to sound. I always think it sounds a little bit pathetic, but I can’t really handle more than three buyers at once. Like if I get a fourth buyer, then like somebody is missing out on, I just can’t give a hundred percent of all four of them. And it’s really that it’s mainly me. Cause I know that I don’t like driving around all day and going from showing the showing and then having to, I love explaining things to people.
And I love teaching people and providing value for people, but there’s, it’s a lot it’s and it’s a lot of, I don’t want to say emotional, emotionally draining, but it’s tiring for me to work with buyers at that level now. And that’s what I know. That’s why I limit myself because I know that I don’t want to be the guy that’s, that’s just taking on buyers just to get transactions, because I know that I’m not gonna provide the service that I’m capable of. If I have like more than three or four buyers at once. Right. And the, again, that might be the introvert in you, who knows, right. That’s the huge range of a day for you or whatever it is. And maybe also why you wouldn’t make a good server, right?
Because like more than three tables as a good server, you need to have a couple more table and you have to know where everybody’s at. But I think that’s, what’s so cool about thinking of yourself as an entrepreneur in real estate. Because as an entrepreneur, there is no like set path. And that’s what I think is so cool about real estate, right? Like you and I are going to make totally different decisions for our businesses and end up in totally different places. Not that one is better than the other, but using our strengths, using our past experiences of what lights us up every day, all day, we’re going to have two totally different businesses and they’re both going to be amazing. Yeah. And it’s definitely, it’s about like, you’re touching on like, self-awareness like take a good look and, and do a little soul searching for anybody that’s listening and, and really, you know, don’t settle for doing something that you’re, that doesn’t really give you passion.
And I don’t mean like there, there are things that you have to do every day that aren’t fun and aren’t exciting or sexy, but as long as it’s part of your overall vision and as long as it’s, and as long as the result that you’re in love with, if that’s part of it, like, you know, it, you still get energy from doing those things. So yeah, it’s about, it’s definitely about finding w being aware of, of who you are and how you work and in what gives you energy. And it’s also, once you get that, then you can understand who you need to bring onto the team or who you need to partner with or who you need to mastermind with Or what your marketing should be.
Right. Like you, for example, are not gonna go out and do the marketing that attracts buyers because you know that you’re not good at it. And if you of your marketing actually works, it wouldn’t actually be success for you. Yeah. For me personally. Right. But that, but that’s another reason why I wanted a team is because I love like Facebook ads and, and geeking out on that kind of stuff. And, and, and the marketing and, and, and I love getting leads in, but I like to have the team. So now I can teach them how to do it. The number of first and foremost, because my team is not really set up too. I’m not like of, of lead provider. And we can talk about my philosophy behind that, but I’m not saying I say this to the agents as they come in.
And like, if you’re looking for a team, that’s going to just pump you with leads and then hold you accountable that you’re following up with those leads like this, isn’t the team for you. But if you want to really focus on leveling up through self-development and, and, and collaboration and learning together and all of that, all of that kind of self-improvement stuff, basically it, and then this was the team that you’re going to thrive on this team. And the commitment from those agents that are committed to self-improvement is amazing. It’s light-years away from the agent that is expecting you to provide them leads. That’s If you’re focused on self-improvement and your mindset and how you react to your own thoughts, right.
And you’re always looking to evolve and be better, you can accomplish anything if you’re just looking for a quick lead and you’re looking for a quick transaction, that’s where it ends. And you’re constantly like you’re, you’re looking for fish instead of learning how to fish and how to become a fishermen with your own boat and, you know, hire a crucible to catch all of the fish for you. And like TJ is. But yeah, that’s what I love is like, there’s no one way to do this business. And if you can really be self-aware, if you can focus on self-improvement and focus on your mind, you can create anything that you want and it can look totally different. So don’t look at what everybody else is doing. Really focus on yourself and your strengths and your, what makes you happy in what makes you light up every day and, and you, and your, like your weaknesses and where the holes would be in your business and fill them with people who are better at the things that you’re not so good at being able to see the yeah.
Well, good. Okay. Well, anything else you want to add to agents who are listening, who might be a few steps behind you, or maybe right. Where you are just about kind of how got where you are. Yeah, I think, I mean, just to kind of summarize a lot of what we’ve been talking about, it’s important to reflect on really what you value in life in, and really think about the setting up a vision for where you want to go and then just make goals according to those values and that vision, and then, and make sure that they’re true to yourself. Make sure it’s not, if you want to do a hundred transactions and the next year and make sure it’s you’re goal and not the, the no, don’t look to other agents in your market and compare yourself to them, just be the only person you can compare yourself to is who you were yesterday.
And, and just try to beat, beat yourself. That’s really the only way that you’re going to keep a healthy mindset, because this business can, can tear you down. You get a lot of rejection, so you don’t need yourself adding to that rejection. For sure. So that’s, that’s one of the biggest things. Yeah. Just making sure that your goals are your own, and then you, you’re making sure that you are moving the big rocks are the big priorities each quarter or each week to get to those goals. And don’t worry about the little, the little stuff, because that’ll all fall into place. If you’re working on the big things and really just build, build a network of build and build a rich network of people who are really trying to level up through self-development.
And if you’re looking up to somebody who’s not doing that, or doesn’t, doesn’t have another goal ahead of where they are at home, no matter how successful they’re, I would just question that, because if you don’t want to be emulating somebody who has the attitude that they’ve already arrived, does that mean, it means that they’ve kind of stopped, stopped trying to develop, and you can get, yeah, you’ll learn from them, but you’ll, you’ll get, you’ll also learn whether it’s subconsciously or not, that the work is not as necessary. There’s not that you’re not going to get that hunger, that drive. You’re not going to feel that energy from that person. So that’s really, that’s really about it.
And then push yourself to you. No, I’m, I’m. I want to be a race car driver and I was a kid and I used to, I used to watch the Indy cars and the 500, like I can name, you know, throughout the eighties. I heard the name just about all the winners of the 9,500, but that’s neither here nor there, but one, there’s a quote from Mario Andretti that I love. And he says, if you, I might be paraphrasing with the room and get a little bit, but he basically says, if everything seems under control, then you’re not going fast enough. Yeah. And, and, and there was a moment of the, we all get that moment of overwhelm. Like, we’ll feel overwhelmed. And if you can just assign a different meaning to that overwhelm and, and just know that, like that, you’re just, you’re, you’re pushing yourself to grow and get to the next level.
If you don’t feel that if you don’t ever feel that overwhelmed or like, or like everything is just no, just about to fall apart and get out of control, then it’s, and you might not be pushing fast enough. It’s also like it, if you watch the Olympics, I don’t know everybody’s a race car fan. But if you, if you watch the Olympics, that downhill skiers, those folks are like, they are, and you see it when they crash. It’s like they are on the edge, literally on the edge of the ski, like, just about out of control. Yeah. So, and I know that’s one of the things I always say, like when the students in grad school say, I feel so overwhelmed, I’m like, congratulations through that moment. This is one of those Uplevel moments.
Congratulations, where you should maybe not live a hundred percent of the time, but at least 85% of the time, you should feel overwhelmed. Because if not, you’re not advancing. If you’re staying comfortable, you’re staying right. Where you are, you feel overwhelmed. Exactly. And it drives you to, it really drives you to focus on what your, what your tasks are and really focus on what, you know, keeping that goal right out in front of you when you’re in that moment. Cause you don’t want to miss anything. Like that’s part of being overwhelmed with like, I don’t want to me, and I want to miss it a phone call. I don’t wanna miss getting somebody to information. So it keeps you on task and it keeps you moving forward, you know, lean into it.
I think so many people, TJ let that feeling of overwhelmed, stop them, you know? And so I don’t know any words of advice that you have about how you push through that when you feel overwhelmed, how do you keep going instead of stopping? Cause I think that’s what people’s initial reaction is, unfortunately. Well, I don’t think, I don’t think stopping and being, and having that, like you got to catch your breath. Like, oh my God, I’m overwhelmed. I’m going to catch my breath. But what I often did and, and sometimes I still do is I will let that, that paralyze me, you know, where if you, you, you still, you have to, you have to acknowledge it and, and you have to give it a, give it a thought, otherwise it, and that adds to the overwhelm.
And then really, like I said, assign a different meaning to it, assign a different emotion to it, like excitement or the, the passion progress. And then, and then just get back into it and then just, you know, get back on the horse as quickly as possible. But if you dwell in the fact that you’re overwhelmed, then it gets harder and harder and harder to kind of dig it out of that, to get out of that hole. And it’s, what’s the, As a negative thing, it’s like a, not a positive thing, but just like, don’t make it like a negative thing, make it just like, it’s a feeling of overwhelmed. Yeah. I mean, think about how fast your day goes when you’re overwhelmed. You’re like, oh my God, I don’t want this done.
So it’s time for dinner already. Yeah. If you want a quick day of work quickly through your day, felt overwhelmed the whole time and assigned a different thought too, instead of it being negative and, and, and a reason to stop or reason to slow down, just say, okay, great. Well, And there’s really, and I know we’ve got to wrap it up here a little bit and I don’t want it to be too long-winded, but you really have to take care of yourself. And, and morning routine is something that I do. I’m not, I don’t think it has to be a more of a routine. You just have to find something that works for yourself, just a quiet time to reflect and really get that clarity of mind so that you can go and, and, and like, it’ll kind of catapults me into the day and, and it sets me up to, to really be in a good frame of mind.
And so I can give a hundred percent if I don’t get to do that, or if I hit that snooze button and I sleep, and then I’m just, I am that negative overwhelm feeling tends to creep in a lot faster. Interesting. Yeah. What’s your morning routine. I think people always say like, oh, have a morning routine, have a, you know, but take care of yourself. And does that look like for you? Well, for me, I get up early. I’m gonna have, I have two wonderful girls. And as soon as they wake up, it’s, you know, see the getting ready for school or getting ready for basketball camp or there’s something that, you know, you have to be like the cattle prodder wrangling to get moving.
So in my, I have to get up a little bit early in order to get that stuff done. I like to meditate. I do. I read if I don’t get to do anything, reading is what I make sure that I get in just because it’s, it’s kind of, I don’t want to say it’s meditative, but you can get into, you can get outside yourself and, and, and get ideas and thoughts while you’re reading. Like a physical book is important to me, but meditation, I try to do at least five minutes, 20 minutes is good. And, but I try to do at least five minutes just to get it’s that reset kind of you, no, you wipe off the whiteboard and clean off the white bar and get ready for it, the new DEI.
And then really, I love to run in a bin kind of slapping on that lately because I’ve been overwhelmed. Yeah. That’s the thing to is like, there’s no emergency in the real estate, even though it seems like there is. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I always say like, your doctor actually saves lives and they’re not calling people back at 10 o’clock, so you’re not even saving lives and you can wait until the morning Too. And if you need to go to the gym for a half an hour, so that you’re taking care of yourself, or for me, I, if I go on and run, you know, and I’ve signed up for a marathon and in November, so I gotta get training and my training schedule and my whiteboard over here.
And so I gotta get the get to that. So, but that running for me is, is just a moment of, of immense clarity and just pushing no, the aerobic have it. And the rhythm of it in the breathing and the, the, it just gives me, it just clears my mind. And the, I know that everybody it’s like find that thing, like running, not be, it might not be it. My, my, my sport is your sports punishment, but I like to say I’m a runner too. So I get it once. Like That mile three it’s like, I don’t know where I go, but I go somewhere great. And then Sober. Yeah.
Yeah. So it’s important to get that, get moving, get exercise in and just find a way to get clarity. Yeah. Awesome. Well, thank you for sharing all your wisdom. If people want to hear more from you, you have your own podcast, you have a lot going on. So the first and foremost, thank you for spending an hour with us, but where can people find you or hear more from you? Well, I think the first way is just to go to the website and set up the podcast. It’s called the agent mind. So if we go to the age of mind.com, you can definitely get ahold of me that way. That’s probably the best and fastest way to do it. And he said, no, you schedule a call with me. I’d love it.
I love having conversations. If you listened to the podcast, it’s in my intro. It’s like this, these are just conversations that I’m having. I love conversations. So yeah. Give me a call. I’d love to, if you know, if anybody has a question about what I said, or, or they just want to talk about something, we definitely would love to schedule a call with you and we can do the all through the website. And there’s, there’s a blog that’s coming soon. There’ll be on the website. So, and I’m hoping that within a month or so, we’ll have the blog going in, but you can get to all of the episodes on there and, and contact me, send me an email. It’s TJ McGraw at the agent, mind.com And you’re in the Atlanta area. What part of Atlanta in particular In Metro Atlanta.
So on the south side of Atlanta and Atlanta is a very, it’s a very expanse, expansive city where it grows out instead of up. So yeah, there’s, there’s a lots of parts of it. I can, if anybody has questions about the Atlanta area in general, I can definitely help them or direct them to the, to the right person, for sure. Awesome. And you’re with ESP in, in, in Atlanta with the ESP, all of that, I don’t know, is there a certain office name? Well, it’s just an exp in Georgia. He exposes all in one brokerage and we have Georgia has an amazing brokerage team managing broker team. And so, yeah. So if you, if like my, my broker’s address is in Atlanta, although my I’m about 30 minutes south, kind of south of the airport, if you know, you know where that is.
Perfect. Well, thank you TJ for your time. I really appreciate it. Thanks for being here. This was fun. Thank you so much. Thank you for listening to this episode of Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent. We purposely keep this podcast sponsor and commercial-free so we can focus solely on providing real estate agents with the content that will help them grow their real estate business. And how about life? They love outside of the business too, but we need your help to get this podcast in the hands of other real estate agents. So please, if you liked this episode, leave a review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening, and also tell your agent’s friends to listen to and to thank you so much for supporting the show for being a listener and supporting other agents along your way to success.
That’s what this is all about. See you next time. On another episode of Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent. And until then come hang with me over The Agent Grad School com and see you there. Thank you for listening to this episode of Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent. We purposely keep this podcast sponsor and commercial-free so we can focus solely on providing real estate agents with the content that will help them grow their real estate business. And how about life? They love outside of the business too, but we need your help to get this podcast in the hands of other real estate agents. So please, if you liked this episode, leave a review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening, and also tell your agent friends to listen in to thank you so much for supporting the show for being a listener and supporting other agents along your way to success.
That’s what this is all about. See you next time. On another episode of Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent. And until then come hang with me over at agentgradschool.com. I’ll see you there.
Agent Grad School is the best online business school for modern real estate agents. We teach a proven system to have a successful real estate career using smart, unconventional strategies and modern marketing methods to attract clients.
about your instructor
Hi, I'm Jennifer!
I'm a real estate agent, creator of Agent Grad School and host of the podcast Confessions of A Top Producing Real Estate Agent. I teach real estate agents the exact steps I used to become one of the top 1% of agents in the US using online marketing and modern, out-of-the-box business strategies.
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