Wednesday, August 16, 2006

New Project

For about three months now, one of my projects has been to help a friend who has taken that great plunge -- quit her job, and started her own company.

In real estate, all income is commission-based, and the commission is usually split between the buyer's agent, the seller's agent, and their respective firms. Because the listing (or selling) agent bears the advertising costs, the listing agent gets a larger percentage than the buyer's agent. Then, each agent's firm takes a cut of their share. Some offices also charge office rent and fees, so it's quite possible for a new agent to actually lose money while selling real estate.

Miss Betsy had worked with a couple of good firms over the last ten years, moving from a situation where she could actually lose money (and did, during a difficult pregnancy when she wasn't able to work as much) to one where she had no rent or fees, but had to turn over a large portion of her commissions to the firm.

Of course, an employee gets stuck with the Sunday showings, as well as working any hours that the managing broker wants to be on vacation. It's a classic situation of he who holds the gold makes the rules.

Ever the agitator, when she got really frustrated over the office politics, I told her to quit and go out on her own.

I've known her for a very long time, and I know she's dreamed about starting her own company for years. She was ready -- she just needed someone to give her a push. So I did.

She passed the Broker's Exam on the first try, with flying colors. We drove to Nashville to speed up the licensing process, and within a few weeks, she had her firm license as well.

Today, just 16 days in business, she had her first closing. She gets to keep all of her commission, exept to pay off some of her start-up costs, and a little bit for a cantankerous web developer/support technician/graphic designer.

Betsy was in the delivery room with me (and Hubby) when our last child was born, and I think she was as excited as anyone in the room. Today, I feel that same kind of excitement -- I didn't birth this business, but I certainly cheered her on every step of the way.

I'm easing her into a new way of doing business, of going mostly paperless (as much as is legal, in any case), so that she can conduct business from anywhere there's an internet connection. Like Lake Tahoe, for example.

Maybe that's the capitalist republican showing in me... I think that small business is the heart of commerce and a free-market economy. Small businesses can innovate. Small business owners work like crazy, but no one can tell them that they have to work on Saturday instead of going to a child's soccer game.

I know the website needs work -- especially on content -- but it will be growing and changing daily. It will have to, to keep up with Betsy. In her first week, she had five listings and a couple of buyers... now we have to grow it.

I'll be there to help and cheer, just as she has been from Day One of Delta's life.


Anonymous The Bosphorus said...

Congrats to the both of you. I enjoyed reading this post, as it's good to hear about somebody's dream taking flight.

You said, "I think that small business is the heart of commerce and a free-market economy." I whole-heartedly agree.

9:53 PM  
Anonymous AT said...

Nice coding, NM. Thats a fine looking page.

8:53 AM  

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