Even for an early riser like Collette McDonald, there are simply not enough hours in the day — any day.
The Sandy Springs-based real estate agent has forged a solid career — her third — spanning more than a decade.
In that time, McDonald has managed to amass high-level clientele the likes of HGTV and the Atlanta Falcons.
The Brookhaven resident recently sat down with the Neighbor Newspapers for a frank discussion about her line of work and how/why she is wired for sound and success in it.
Q: You worked in other fields prior to entering real estate. What has carried over?
A: I love being able to use my radio/TV/film background and applying that to things like HGTV, applying that to shooting HD videos on all of my listings. I just know how to present a product in a video-centric society … and applying my business knowledge from working in different atmospheres. I’ve got 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, management and operations. … So when I went into real estate, I could just apply that knowledge in an entrepreneurial way.
Q: What advice would you give someone considering real estate as a career?
A: If you’re fresh out of college and you want to make this a career, make sure you’re well-rounded and have had other sales experience — and work for somebody else [first]. Coming into this business green with no network to pull from, no experience or credibility, you want to work with somebody who has that and learn from the best.
If you’re in a transitional stage, where you might have taken a break or despise what you’re currently doing, as long as you have a network you get the education and figure out what your goals are.
My recommendation would be to work with a broker that has tools of education and coaching that can teach you what not to do.
Q: How would you paint the big picture for the uninitiated?
A: It’s the 80-20 rule. … Twenty percent of the agents are doing 80 percent of the business. [Meanwhile], 80 percent of the agents out there are just looking at it from the transactional side — like, ‘I can sell one or two [properties] a year, make enough money to do x.
Q: What is a question you get often asked?
A: “‘How do you life-balance [when] you work seven days a week?’”
Your definition of success is different than mine. There is very little balance when it comes to that. You are on the client’s schedule, not your own. You have to be willing to work the hours to meet those goals.
People ask me all the time how do I do it? I incorporate everything in my life into real estate. My boys, who are ages 11 and 13, come work the open houses with me every once in a while. And, they go out and put signs up. They are learning what it takes to be a success — and that is not 9 to 5. My definition [working 9 to 5] is work as hard as you possibly can, put the hours in and then financial freedom allows you to make other choices in your life. And that’s what I’m trying to teach my boys … the great thing about this business is you reap what you sow.
Q: How would you assess your professional relationship with the Atlanta Falcons?
A: Now that’s exciting. One of the greatest things about the Atlanta Falcons is what they give back to the community as well.
Ever since the Michael Vick [dogfighting] debacle several years ago, I think the Falcons have really focused on their image and how they’re perceived in the community. RE/MAX Around Atlanta, along with SunTrust and several other companies, are sponsors of the Falcons. We advertise, we have signage down at the stadium and we’re involved.
They wanted to choose two agents out of all RE/MAX to represent the organization and the players. … I was one of the agents chosen to represent those clients in the process of buying and selling. For instance, when you as a player move in you don’t know what you’re going to do … the Falcons want their players to be taken care of, so that might mean just giving them information on areas, taking them out to look at rental properties or talking to them about down the road. If the average professional football player only plays three years … what are they going to do when they’re done playing?
Maybe it’s talking to someone like us about investing in real estate. Maybe it’s talking about becoming an agent down the road. Or, maybe it’s just talking about mortgages. It’s something in that realm. So, not only do we help them with a purchase or a rental — deciding what makes sense for them — and where to live in the Atlanta market, but we’re also there to bounce off ideas … for down the road.