By Carol O’Hanley, Owner, EXIT Realty PEI
My husband, Steve Yoston and I, first bought our real estate business six years ago, and while Steve was an experienced REALTOR®, I very much felt like a fraud. I had never owned or managed a business before and had no idea what I was doing. I was intimidated by other business owners both in our community and in EXIT Realty. They all seemed to have so much confidence and know exactly what they were doing.
It was definitely difficult to show up on a regular basis in business and in community when I felt this way. I wasn’t sure what to do to gain confidence because I felt most of that comes from experience. That’s something I needed to build over time. But how do you do that when you just start out?
In my attempts at building this confidence, I turned to education and professional development. I took leadership courses; I went back to school and earned my master’s degree in business and I turned to as many people as possible to learn. When you hear people suggest you should surround yourself with people smarter than you…those are wise words.
We are so incredibly lucky that we joined the EXIT franchise as they have an endless amount of training in all areas. By facilitating training sessions for our salespeople, I also benefited from what was offered. For example, I hosted EXIT Realty MIND-SET Trainer, Erica Nasby’s, session for agents on three different occasions which helped me change my mindset in both my professional and personal life. I also facilitated Brian Buffini’s training for our agents on four occasions and have always come away with something new and helpful.
Our franchisor offers a one-week training session for brokers at their head office location in Mississauga. This not only provides valuable information for brokers but allows them to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with other brokers from all across North America while getting up close and personal with all the people responsible for running the franchise. The best part about broker training is access to Steve Morris, the Founder of EXIT. Steve is always ready to offer advice and support to anyone in his company. You can attend this training several times a year if you like. It’s an excellent way to gain knowledge, network with others and build stronger relationships.
All brokers from the Atlantic provinces gather a few times a year for an evening meal followed by a full day of sharing ideas, offering support and once again, building relationships. The President of the Canadian Division for EXIT, Joyce Paron is a phone call away when we have questions or need advice on anything EXIT related or basically anything life related as well!
On top of all this support from our franchise, I also participated in many local opportunities for leadership development. I gained a New Manager’s certificate from our local University, took an Intentional Focus program as well as a Conscious Leadership program both which ran over a six-month period. They helped me hone my skills on coaching others and managing my time efficiently.
It took some time, but I eventually grew into myself as a business owner. I became more comfortable trying new things and I realized that other people often felt just like I did and didn’t really know what they were doing either!!
Now as I do have experience and knowledge and more confidence, I remember back to those days when I was scared silly. I still have lots to learn but I feel much more at ease in what I’m doing and look at others starting out and really want to help them get to a place where they feel confident and comfortable with themselves.
It’s not an easy journey and sometimes it’s incredibly lonely – but the person you become along the way is probably worth more than the success you gain from all the hard work you put in.