What to do when your career clock starts ticking
The proper word for Tracy Reynolds’ career history would probably be "checkered.”
While she considers herself a rookie, Reynolds actually got her real estate license in 1993 in order to become office manager at a RE/MAX agency. "I wasn’t selling," she says. "I was 19 years old and I needed a paycheck." She soon became a licensed assistant for one of the brokers, but at 24, as she says, "My biological clock went off, not for kids but a career," and she went back to college.
Reynolds' delivery is rapid-fire. Her ensuing jobs tumble forth: cocktail waitress (while earning a BA in Psychology), dental lab manager, running a limo company. Her sudden realization one day of saying: "Hello, you have a realty license" was reinforced by having her mother as office manager at Fruits Real Estate Services, Inc. in Tarpon Springs. Her first year almost doesn't count. In 2004, when the area was hit by four hurricanes, she came in with under $40,000 in sales.
"I did seven-point-something [million] my second year," Reynolds says, "and nine-point-something [million] last year." Probably a bit of false modesty, since self-confessed obsessive Reynolds is too well organized not to know her exact figures. Even with a full-time assistant, Reynolds writes her own newsletter and sends a "critical dates" letter to every client, spelling out inspection, survey and closing dates.
"I love having my assistant," she says. "She does the day-to-day handling, takes my calls, keeps me in touch, puts up the lock boxes. It's like having your mom here."
Her "new, yet old" outlook serves her well. "I have lunch with agents who have been doing this for years. I ask them: ‘What am I doing wrong?’ In real estate you have to discipline yourself. Some people think you just jump in and make all this money. Everybody thinks we're so rich!"
According to Robin Ferrara, the managing broker at Fruits, Reynolds has all the right habits. "She sends housewarming gifts. She sends welcoming letters. We all learn these things but do we use them? No! We're lazy!"
"I started what we call 'Mashing the Grapes Boot Camp' for those who can't seem to weather the storm," Ferrara says. "Tracy was whining and moping that she wasn’t going to the seminars and I had to tell her, you don’t need it!"
Tracy just finished classes for her broker's license and plans to continue her good habits. "It's the structure of it. I'm consistent; I like checklists. I keep a database of follow-ups and birthdays."
She yells out in a loud and happy voice: "I'm awesome!"