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  • April 15, 2019 2:54 PM | Dori Eppstein (Administrator)

    Building a Mega Admin Team P3: Training and Culture

    Jen Stalcup, Owner, Agent REbox

    Back again for more?! YAY!!! Ok so where are we at? You have decided you are going to build a team, you created a job description, you interviewed and now you have your brand-new baby team member. Work is done right?! They immediately start taking things off your plate and the world is wonderful right?! Well….

    You may be better than me and I sincerely hope so, however by the time I made my first hire I was so overwhelmed and THEN I had to train!! These employees didn’t come knowing everything (design flaw I am sure). So, if you are feeling overwhelmed and like this person is more work in the beginning than they are worth you are on the right track!!

    Training: So, in the beginning don’t listen to all the bigger teams telling you about their amazing training platforms. KISS keep it simple silly!! A google doc is a great place to start along with your computer’s native video/screen capture program. In mac land this is quick time. The way we started our training program was by pure accident. I didn’t have the time to train and was frustrated saying the same thing over and over again. Someone said just record what you are doing, and they can refer back. GENIUS!!! So, the next time I showed someone how to enter a listing I just did screen capture and talked through it. It was horrible!! I swore, half of it was missing sound and I had to redo several things but guess what? The team LOVED it!! They could go back to it when they couldn’t remember what to do and watch again. Lightbulb moment we then started housing all these videos in dropbox and including the links in our google doc for training.

     i.e. – Add listing in Alaska flex (insert video link here)

    Yes, THAT simple. It’s not pretty, it’s not sexy but that is the thing. Most of the time we make things so complicated that they never get done the goal here is to get er done! So, video away as you go throughout your normal load those puppies in dropbox and drop the link in a google doc. Start small and build and build and in no time, you will have a training manual!

    Now onto one of my biggest challenges, culture. I am the definition of an introvert. My “fun” is being at home in my PJs with the fam or a couple, really ONLY, a couple of friends. I even get grumpy when my hubs wants to have a bday party. Yes, that bad. So, culture is something I have to work at daily in biz but it is probably THE most important thing you can do. Culture is what will pull your team through when you break every system you have built. Culture is the difference between your entire team being in tears or rallying to rebuild.

    So how do I have amazing culture? Well glad you asked!! Be sure to read our next and last installment. Retention/Think bigger, org chart mindset etc.

    Tips: Once you grow past google drive look into lessonly or screensteps. We love screensteps because it is searchable and we house our policies and procedures, training etc there.


  • March 08, 2019 9:04 AM | Dori Eppstein (Administrator)
    If you're anything like me, you feel super guilty when you don't give 100% on a file for whatever reason. Last year, I was way over leveraged (too many agents, not enough TCs), and my service level suffered greatly. I saw the signs, I knew the ship was going down and I was taking on water. Instead of managing the situation, I was uncharacteristically paralyzed, and that ship went down. I lost a few agents, I didn't think there was any way I'd ever get them back. I’m here to tell you, NEVER give up on a solid professional relationship because of something you did.

    In looking back on this situation, here are three things I should have done to stay afloat

    1. Reached out and apologized. Think about it - if I would have reached out to them and apologized, I could have avoided feeling icky for so long and probably helped them out again sooner.
    2. Admitted I needed help. I’m a strong woman, a business owner who prides herself on being a kick-ass TC. Admitting I might need help and reaching out to delegate to my team or collaborate better with my agents is something that I was not comfortable with. I didn’t want to look weak or unable to perform up to my own standards. I should have shouted, “help” from the rooftops.
    3. Managed expectations. I should have been transparent with my agents, letting them know that I was feeling overwhelmed and worked with them on finding solutions to get us back on track. Managing their expectations would have let them know that they were a priority and I wanted to service them as usual but needed some assistance.

    None of that stuff is always easy but sometimes is they are the best things you can do.

    Despite my challenges, I am happy to report that I've re-signed 3 of them in the last few months! I am determined to learn from my experience and will work closely with them to ensure that I am delivering the quality work they have come to appreciate.

    In short, it's REALLY selfish to decide the relationship is done because you feel like you messed up. What's not selfish? Reach out to the other person, express your wrong doing, and ask how you can help and add value. Then - expect nothing back from them. It's the other person's choice where the relationship goes.

    I hope this makes sense. I'm writing this on a whim because I literally just deleted an agent's information - and 5 minutes later she emails me and says let's try it again. <3

     Keep failing forward! <3 Love you all!"


  • February 15, 2019 10:12 AM | Dori Eppstein (Administrator)

    Hello again! We are talking about finding and recruiting your first hire. In many people’s minds this means we place an ad, we hire the first person who has a decent resume and we are off to the races right?! Nope, not at all, like anything else this isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a fast process. Do you have your napkin, word doc, or notes of what the person you will be hiring will be doing? If not, then go back to part 1 and re-read. If you do let’s jump in!

    Let’s think about this person and our business as a whole. First off, do we want a purely US based team? Now, some of you just said “of course!” and that is great! However, at REbox we LOVE getting talent from all over the world. In our eyes why limit yourself to just your own backyard why not incorporate cultures from everywhere to bring an amazing mind meld to the table? We love it! We have people from Europe, the Philippines and all over the US. If that is not for you no worries. Second, do you want physical space or a virtual environment? There are benefits and drawbacks to both and it is better to think about it BEFORE you hire someone. Some people love working from home where others will struggle. You need to have the environment clear in your mind so you can make sure you are recruiting to that vision. Third, are you going to consider them an employee or an independent contractor? Now we could write a whole blog just on this topic (or really any of these) but in this blog we are just getting you thinking. So, consult with your CPA, lawyer and state laws to really understand this because it makes a HUGE difference to your potential team member and your bottom line.

    NOW we are going to work on an ad! You know if you are hiring locally or broadly, if they are sitting in an office or their own comfy couch, and if they will be an employee or an independent contractor. Whew! So now let’s craft our ad. DO NOT JUST COPY SOMEONE ELSE’S. Your vision is different than theirs, so take a few minutes and free write why YOU love your company. I know you are like “Jen you are nuts I am hiring someone not myself?!” Yes, but culture is huge in a team. What you love about the company is what will attract, keep and motivate your team members so just do it. I would give yourself 15-30 min just word vomit on the page what you love about your industry, your vision, and where you see yourself in 5 years. Once you have that leave it for 24 hours and the next day come back and look at it. Pull 5-15 items out of there and they become your bullet points in the ad. Be direct, don’t be fluffy or wordy, get to the point on what you want. Be specific, if you want experience, then how much? Type up your ad and have someone else read it. Once they love it as much as you post away! Use applicable job search sites in your area or the area you are hiring in. Review applications, conduct interviews, and make an offer to the best candidate that you can see in your 5-year plan.

    Tip1: Once you are happy with it, add a teaser at the end of the ad with a request. Ours is something like “If you have read this entire ad and feel like you are our next Rockstar please submit an email on why and be sure to include in the subject line, I am your next ROCKSTAR”. We will not even look at an application that doesn’t follow the teaser. We are in the detail industry after all.

    Tip2: Do NOT give YOUR email address or phone number (made this mistake once never again).

  • January 28, 2019 12:30 PM | Dori Eppstein (Administrator)

    So, you want to build a team? I have a team, a large team, and I get asked all the time “How do you build a team?”. Typically, they want me to be able to tell them in passing, over coffee, or in the elevator. This is funny to me because the answer is simple, but not easy and definitely NOT fast.

    The first question I always ask is why do you WANT to build a team? Building a team for the sake of having a team is not a reason to do it. In order to build anything worthwhile it is going to take blood, sweat and tears and there are going to be days (sometimes many) you want to give up. So, knowing WHY you want to build a team is key. In my world it is to create opportunity. For myself, my family, my team, their families, the community, our clients…well you get the idea. My why is HUGE so I NEED help accomplishing it, enter a team. What is your why? Is it big enough to need a team? If you are not sure then stop what you are doing and get sure! I would highly recommend the book, Start with Why by Simon Sinek.

    Great! So now you have your why, you know you are going to need help and this “team” thing is right up your alley so first step is to hire right?! NO!!! This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Hiring without knowing WHAT that person is doing is a recipe for disaster for you and the poor person you hire. So, your first step is a little vision casting (I warned you this wasn’t fast). Think of you why, now think of a world where you wake up daily and LOVE your world. Pick a date 5 years in the future. You are happy, healthy, fulfilled personally and professionally doing _____________. Yup that is right fill in the blank, get detailed. What does your world look like, who are you interacting with on your team, what are they doing and how does that look? What are you doing and what does that look like? Got it? Great, WRITE IT DOWN. I don’t care if it is in a journal, digital or otherwise, a notebook a napkin WRITE IT DOWN. You need to keep this and think of it often.

    Now we are going to work backwards. You know what your world looks like in 5 years so what do we need to do NOW to get there? At this point you are reading this blog post going “this does not help?! I want to HIRE NOW, I want a team NOW”. Here is the gig you can absolutely go out, hire out of desperation, bring them on with no idea of what you want them to do, and congratulations you will NOT have a team you will have a mess with lots of people so trust me. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. What needs to happen now for you to have that life in 5 years. Who is that FIRST hire you need and what will they be doing in order to get you to that five-year goal? Clear? Great! WRITE IT DOWN, review it, live with it as you are going through your day and add or subtract from it to create your first job description. Don’t worry it doesn’t have to be perfect and it WILL change over time, but this is our start.

    Coming up next…finding/recruiting your first hire…

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