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The #1 Trap Every Agent Falls Into—and How to Get Out

Aug 28, 2023

by Steve Shull, Founder & Head Coach


Watch out—you're about to fall into a trap. 

Either that, or you're already in it. I've seen it happen over and over, thousands of times, with every kind of real estate agent. New or experienced, struggling or successful, in all markets and at all price points, everyone stumbles into the same hole sooner or later:

Trying to do everything yourself.

The question isn't whether you'll fall into this trap. It's whether you get yourself out and stay out.

The trap seems attractive at first glance. If you do everything yourself, you're in perfect control, in theory. You don't have to rely on other people who will do it wrong or slow. You can be sure nothing will slip through the cracks.

The problem is, doing everything yourself is physically impossible in this business. There is simply too much. If you try, you'll spend every day feeling like the clock is running out.

And here's the kicker: if you're doing it all yourself, you probably aren't doing it systematically. Why bother writing things down and following protocols if you're the only one involved? So your to-do lists, goals, relationships, and all the other elements of your business just swirl around in your head.

In that messy vortex, it's hard to sort out your top priorities from everything else. Everything feels urgent. You're constantly trying to decide what to do next, which is exhausting and stressful. You end up spending a lot of time on low-value activities that anybody could do and not enough time on high-value activities only you can do, like nurturing your client relationships.

This is precisely what limits your growth.

When you try to do everything yourself, you set a natural ceiling on your business. You only have so much capacity, and you use it all up just getting the urgent work done, so there's no time left for the strategic work it takes to grow.

Building a support team changes this in two crucial ways:

  1. It leads you to formalize your processes and priorities. Otherwise, how will you communicate what needs to be done and how to do it? You'll need explicit, written guidelines on what matters most and how to do things your way.

  2. It leads you to delegate some of your workload. Otherwise, what are you paying people for? You'll have to give them things to do, which frees up some of your time for the important strategic tasks you were previously neglecting.  

Bringing other people into your business launches you past that natural ceiling. It's the first step on the path to scalability. And it doesn't have to be a big team—one part-time assistant is enough to get this ball rolling.

And yet, agents make all kinds of excuses not to build a support team.

"Nobody can do it as well as I can."

Maybe, but just because you can do it better doesn't mean you should be doing it. Your time is valuable and limited—you can't afford to spend it on something your assistant can do, even if it takes him two hours to do what takes you one. Free up that hour for activities that actually grow your business. 

"It's faster and easier to do it myself than to get someone else to do it." 

At first, yes. But every minute you invest in hiring and training other people will be paid back many times over in the long run. You can keep doing a task yourself, or you can take a little extra time to teach someone else and then never have to do it again. You tell me which way saves more time and effort. 

"I don't want to hire the wrong person."

That's fair, but not hiring anyone isn't the solution. Craft a clear job description and interview guide in advance so you know exactly what skills and characteristics you're looking for.

"If I hire someone, they'll be idle in the slow season."

Want to know what usually happens when an agent hires a capable assistant? Within 90 days, they can't remember how they used to do it all themselves. It's incredibly rare that business gets slow enough for long enough that they even question whether to keep their support team.

These excuses all come down to fear and control. You want to hold on to every thread in your business because you're afraid that if you don't, they'll all unravel. But in my 30+ years of coaching, one thing I've learned over and over is this:

In order to grow, you have to LET GO.

You can control everything, or you can scale beyond the limits of your personal capacity. You cannot have it both ways.

It's been said that if you don't build a business around an idea, the idea will eventually collapse. That makes sense, right?

Well, if you don't build a business around an agent, the agent will eventually collapse, too. Without support, sooner or later you'll burn out.

Remember, our goal is to create a business that's sustainable, scalable, and stress-free. Doing everything yourself goes against all 3 of those things. To achieve that goal, you have to let go.

It sounds scary, but in truth, it's liberating. Talk to any business owner who has learned to let go, and they will tell you it's the best and smartest thing they ever did. It's what will get you out of the trap of doing everything yourself, and keep you out for good.


Have a great week!


Steve Shull

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