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  • Writer's pictureReal Estate Today - New Zealand

From Agent to Entrepreneur: Who Is Coaching You Through the Journey?

Written by Christine Mikhael, LJ Hooker Group CEO.

Experienced real estate agents often find themselves enticed by the idea of launching their own business.

The allure of independence, the ability to implement personalised strategies, and the potential for increased financial rewards serve as strong incentives. 


However, the journey from agent to business owner is not without its hurdles, and navigating the start-up phase can be complex and challenging.   

LJ Hooker stands as an iconic brand, yet at its core, it comprises hundreds of small business owners. As advocates of small businesses, we have built an ever-increasing framework that supports and nurtures entrepreneurs to prosper.  


For those intrigued but possibly daunted by the prospect of entrepreneurship, I aim to share insights gained from my extensive experience spanning more than three decades in the industry. These insights shed light on the key considerations agents should bear in mind when contemplating the initiation of their own real estate business. 


Navigating the start-up landscape 


Embarking on the journey of starting a real estate business has its challenges. When I stepped into the real estate world, the excitement of launching and running my own agency was palpable. As the youngest female principal and managing director in Australia at the time, I faced my fair share of significant learning curves. Beyond the sheer dedication and persistence, the process of building a successful agency in a very competitive market pushed my skills and capabilities beyond what I had ever imagined.  

When starting out those initial stages can be among the most fraught; all the uncertainties, establishing a recognisable brand and how to ensure a smooth operational flow. These challenges can often become overwhelming, slowing down the growth and potential success of a business. 


Brand recognition: the cornerstone of success 


Certainly, one of the most advantageous starting points is the immediate establishment of brand awareness and market recognition. Creating a new agency and brand from the ground up requires substantial investments of time, effort, and financial resources. In the competitive landscape of 2024, the real estate industry demands standing out and considers it a crucial necessity for survival. 


Our latest brand research found LJ Hooker benefits from 89% consumer brand recognition, meaning that when agents partner with us, they instantly become part of 96 years' worth of history and a name synonymous with real estate, providing a solid foundation of trust and credibility to build their success.  


Our brand's rich history in shaping real estate is like a stepping stone for our business owners, offering them a significant advantage in a market where trust is crucial for getting noticed and turning potential into success.  


Minimal downtime, maximum momentum 


When I launched my own agency like any small business owner, I encountered downtime. It took months to go from concept to opening the doors and it was a daunting period. It’s these moments when you question your decision and as each day passes, you’re conscious of the mounting cost and weight on morale. The difference between then and now is there are ways to minimise this downtime leveraging tools, resources and support services that can ensure a new office hits the ground running by being online and operational from day one. 


This knowledge has been instrumental in setting up LJ Hooker’s starter program, a ready-made business accelerator with dedicated support teams. Having unfettered access to the best real estate minds whose role is to guide and mentor during the crucial start-up phase was unheard of when I started out. It is a program I am particularly proud of, not least because of the quality of the resources but because of the knowledge sharing it’s instilled into dozens of new business owners over the years. 


From setting up an office to implementing efficient operational systems, to recruitment and lead generation, our business activation team is specifically tasked with sharing their expertise and ensure a new business launch is manageable, enjoyable and successful.  


Frictionless operation: focus on what matters 


Launching a business is a juggling act. Aside from the extra burden it places on your personal life, professionally it calls for a new layer of demands and skills from marketing to admin, recruitment to new systems. For high performing agents whose first love is to list and sell properties these extra responsibilities can be challenging. 


But it doesn't have to be that way. Starting a new business and continuing to list and sell is achievable. The key is to establish the right support from the outset. 


By building a comprehensive support system we’ve made it a priority that business owners, and those who are selling principals, can concentrate on their core competency — selling real estate. Establishing a robust set of core advantages ensures industry leading technology solutions, performance metrics, and recruitment and marketing strategies, are all taken care of allowing agents to focus on maximising their sales performance and providing exceptional service to their clients. 


Never alone: a network of support 


Starting a business can be a lonely pursuit. It can feel like no one understands what you’re going through, which is why finding a network and supportive community of like-minded individuals is critical to start-up success. Shared camaraderie not only fortifies a valuable support system but fosters growth and generates leads. 


When LJ Hooker Schofields | Riverstone owner Sanjeev Kumar took the next step in his career from agent to business owner, he credits the support and training he received as key to his success. 


Opening the doors of his own office with a team of experienced agents and property managers Sanjeev had all the tools and ready-made networks to launch into a market ripe with opportunity. In doing so he was able to offer a full suite of real estate services across residential properties and projects that now services a rapidly growing area in Western Sydney.  


Taking the leap: when to know you’re ready 


Opening my own agency was always a matter of "when," not "if." The decision weighed on me, but reaching a plateau as an agent signalled it was time for a leap of faith. Having experienced the significant challenges of launching a business firsthand, I understand the magnitude of that decision and the adrenaline-filled startup days. 


The journey is made more certain by the LJ Hooker Group, offering built-in benefits like instant brand awareness, market recognition, minimal downtime, and a dedicated support team. These advantages position us as the perfect partner for ambitious real estate agents looking to transform entrepreneurial aspirations into reality. 


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