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Why I Left My Brokerage and Re-Started My Own Company

After eight years with my prior brokerage, I made a big decision that will have a lot of impact on my future and my long-term success. Today, I want to share why I left my prior brokerage and partnered with Side to re-launch Rainmaker Real Estate.

Breaking the news.

My prior brokerage had a good culture, but things started to change as the brokerage continued to grow.

I’ve heard horror stories about brokerages that operate out of fear. Upon getting word an agent wants to leave, the brokerage immediately shuts off the agent’s email, revokes access to their deals, and asks the agent to leave. I’m grateful to say that’s not how things went down for me.

While the leadership team didn’t receive my decision with open arms, they respected it. Together, we discussed the best way to facilitate my transition.

During my off-boarding meeting, the broker team assumed I had decided to move for economic reasons, but this wasn’t the case. If you join or leave a company solely because you are getting a better deal, you’re moving for the wrong reason.

Chasing money backfires.

Think about it this way; moving brokerages for a better commission split is no different than a seller hiring the agent with the lowest commission instead of hiring the most qualified agent.

The thing is, brokerages aren’t afraid to offer money, even at a loss for themselves, to gain a high-production agent or team. That can (understandably) be attractive – but you have to look beyond the short-term.

A sweet two-year deal that gets you to make a rapid shift to a new brokerage is great… for two years. But time passes quickly; you get comfortable, and it’s time to re-negotiate again. I love negotiating home prices, but constantly needing to re-negotiate commission splits with my brokerage is not something I enjoy.

Long-term value always beats short-term gains.

Finding the right course for your real estate career is all about making an impact. The best agents are agile and can keep up with consumer needs and demands. But being able to effectively support clients without losing yourself to operational tasks means you need support.

When you think about making a career move, it’s important to look beyond bells and whistles. Identify what truly matters and focus on things that will have the most long-term impact on your growth, productivity, and profitability.

From supporting real estate agents over the years, I’m confident that the value of a brokerage providing office space is nominal at best. Out-of-the-box software? Slightly more valuable – but third party tools are everywhere. You can get them on your own.

In reality, the most valuable thing a brokerage can provide is systems that help build and sustain your business; tools to help you track, manage, and improve – so you can grow something that you can call your own.

You win by owning your own business and your own brand – not by promoting your brokerage. When you control your brand and business, you find economics that effectively supports your company growth goals.

A shifting market demands that agents make smart decisions to stay competitive.

As the market continues to shift, a big change is occurring that’s affecting agents at every level, leaving all of us with a big decision to make. Recently, many ‘part-time’ agents have left the industry in the face of a new kind of uncertainty. We’re losing a lot of the middle with this shift, and it’s a pivotal moment.

Those who remain can move to a low-touch discount brokerage platform to take over business left behind by agents who tapped out. Or, we can double down and focus twice as much effort on being the agent that values relationships and continually provides clients with a high level of value.

To stay competitive, we need to make smart moves that keep us a few steps ahead. For example, I started building a web presence way back in 2006, to get ahead of agents who were just beginning to realize that the internet was going to become important.

Founding Rainmaker Real Estate 2.0

Today, I’m once again making a move right as the ground has gotten a bit shaky. This time, my move is to build my own premium brand and business by partnering with Side, a silent brokerage platform. This move has also allowed me to become a member of an invaluable exclusive partner agent community.

Making this choice not only allows me to grow today, it protects my business from future shifts. It means I can compete head-to-head with other top agents because I’m delivering premium service, and allows me to take over market share from agents who opted to choose the discount brokerage path. This move is clearing a path to grow and scale no matter what the market throws my way.

What my business looks like today.

With Side, I get to be creative with my marketing and can run my office the way I want to. All the business I work hard to earn comes back to me; it doesn’t go to support my brokerage. I have a partner in my success rather than a brokerage trying to monetize my success.

I also have a level of support I’ve never seen before across multiple aspects of my business:

  • Branding to my business, not my brokerage:

    I work with a team of marketers, designers, and creatives who are focused on supporting my agent-centric branding initiatives. Instead of about worrying about whether my brokerage logo is displayed correctly, I’m focused on building my brand.

  • Beyond the basics transaction management:

    Support is not limited to a repository for documentation. Instead, the transaction support team at Side is vested in streamlining my paperwork with offer preparation, vendor scheduling, and the plethora of other tasks that I would rather delegate than do myself.

  • Strategic guidance that helps me grow my business:

    My team of business managers understands my goals and helps me focus and stay on track in achieving these key objectives. This frees me up to focus on managing the daily responsibilities of running my real estate business.

  • Deeper legal and compliance support:

    Side’s broker operations team provides legal and compliance expertise while staying on top of the ever-changing industry regulations. When compliance rules change or regulations shift, Side brings in economists and data experts and shares digestible content that keeps us up to speed on what we need to know. Now more than ever, it’s been important – to know that my team is looking out for me and has my back.

You can see why it was a no-brainer to partner with Side and re-launch Rainmaker Real Estate. This move allows me to maintain ownership of my business, keep creative control, and get expert support on all the operational aspects of running a brokerage while freeing me up to focus on providing the highest level of service to my clients.

About Side

Side is the industry’s only real estate brokerage platform, empowering the very best agents, teams and indie brokers to create and grow their own companies — without the time, cost or risk of operating a brokerage. Unlike consumer-facing brokerage brands, Side works behind the scenes to provide our partners with time-saving technology and premier support services. This way, they’re free to focus on what matters most: serving their clients and communities. The company is headquartered in San Francisco.

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