I have some exciting news! I have a fantastic guest in today’s episode who talks about real estate and entrepreneurship! I also share my experience buying MY FIRST HOUSE! As an entrepreneur, like many of you, I will discuss the challenges of purchasing a home and how our current system restricts business owners from buying property.
If you’re ready to learn how a lady boss became a successful real estate agent and my experience buying a home, tune into The Next Level Social podcast!
Question: Tell us your story! Tell me a little about yourself and how you’ve created this unreal business empire. Talk to us about how you started in real estate.
Answer: My name is Kelly Armstrong! I’m located in Billings, Montana, and I’ve been in real estate for almost ten years. It’s been my first and only career, and it’s been such a journey. It’s ebbed and flowed; much like the entrepreneurship experience, it changes, warps, and pivots. It’s been enjoyable!
In my ten year’s I’ve owned brokerages, worked for other brokerages, led agents, and in the overall industry, shined brightest with systems.
So my rule of thumb is if I have to do something more than twice we create a process for it.
And when I say ‘we,’ I mean my phenomenal team. That’s one thing that is not really seen on Social media. Some massive teams are doing enormous things. And while I am not quite at that level yet, I have the team to get me there. They are completely bomb women.
So we have created systems and processes that allow me to operate at a high level because details are vital. Paying attention to detail is how I’ve got where I am, and being able to systemize that has allowed me not to drop the ball.
Content As A Lead Generator
Question: I would love to dive into creating content as a realtor – what have you learned over the last six months? What’s worked o you?
Answer: I’m a millennial, so we’ve grown up with social media. We are fortunate in the way that we are used to it! On the other hand, real estate has been around forever, and the average age of a Realtor is FIFTY TWO! So trying to implement something new, especially the BEAST of social media, I can understand why people don’t get on it.
But once they embrace social media, I think it becomes a platform of “just listed” or “just sold,” and I’m left wondering who they’re talking to and how this method makes sense.
So how did you differentiate?
Listening to facets of business outside of my industry is one of my favourite things. I think this is where people deviate in that social media is a tool, an extension of you that people can feel comfortable reaching out.
In content creation, I dove in hard on my ideal client. My ideal client is a 30-year-old mom with multiple kids, and she is busy. She is running her work, family, and life and believes in the power of delegation.
The majority of our transactions are with people who are buying and selling at the same time. As anyone who has purchased a house knows, it is a wild ride. So imagine also trying to sell a home at the same time. It takes a level of process implementation, shocker, to do both effectively, which brings value to my ideal client because they can keep going with their lives while we pick up the ball.
Ayla – it makes total sense! I feel like so many nuggets were shared.
We talk about the power of creating content with one specific client in mind ALL THE TIME. And I love that advice for looking at other resources to learn that are not within our niche.
When we were on our call and talking about Creative Market, you told me that you didn’t want to look at realtor templates but business templates. And am I like, yeah, you’re right! Why did I instantly want to show you realtor templates? You want to be different! So going outside your niche to learn various aspects of business for differentiation is such an excellent golden nugget!
Another piece we align with is that we do not own our social media platforms. I actually had someone in my mastermind have a personal account permanently shut down; no ifs, ands or buts. And it was devastating and is more common all the time.
So this leads to bringing our audience from social media onto other platforms like email lists, and Kelly has a very successful email marketing system.
The Power of Newsletters
Question: I want you to share a little bit about how you use social media to build your email list organically.
Answer: We started an email list in September of 2021, and it’s actually a funny story.
I made some changes to my business two years ago; part of those changes was a rebrand. So I hired a bomb team with an online business manager and a brand manager. We went to work and overhauled or enhanced everything we were already doing. So there were systems I wanted to revamp, some processes I needed to dust off, and some new things I wanted to implement.
One of those new things was a monthly newsletter! My online business manager, now one of my dear friends, is sassy and southern and will tell you exactly how it is. She’s like that trainer you have where you curse the entire time, but when you’re done, you’re like, “Oh my god, I love you!” That’s her. So I told her I wanted to do a monthly newsletter, and she looked at me… She has these looks like you just killed her firstborn child, and she’s like, “kay, that’s cute, but you need to do it weekly.”
And I was like, “oh my god, no. How am I supposed to do that? I don’t even have time for what I’m already doing. Like, what will I be talking about?” So we did the monthly newsletter, and the content never hit. Our open rates were junk, and it just wasn’t doing what I knew I wanted it to do.
I wanted it to reach people on a deep level.
But I wasn’t connecting deeply because my content was so diluted. There were so many different calls to action and other things going on.
If you go and look at a Hubspot study that recently came out, the number one problem with newsletters is that people get lost in all the calls to action.
The more specific you can get, the more of an expert you seem in that field.
I finally gave up the clench and said, “Okay, whatever; I’ll do weekly newsletters.” I had a friend working for the same team, and she’s an insane copywriter.
So I texted her and asked her, “do you know what the business manager wants me to do? She wants me to write a weekly newsletter, like death!”
And she said something to me that changed the trajectory of how I feel about email marketing; she goes, “Lol, Kelly, I send daily emails.” Get this, girlfriend runs a six-figure business on 16 hours a week. So if she can do daily emails, I can do weekly emails. And honestly, it’s been the best thing we’ve ever done because we’ve been able to reach clients on a deep level.
How Do You Make A Bomb Newsletter?
So our emails are bite-sized, value-packed and full of the information people want.
They are full of the conversations I am having inside my marketplace, and especially during covid, there were a lot of questions. Real estate has become a very hot topic. So being able to get that information to the masses, because let’s be honest, if one person is asking, ten people are thinking it, so if you can be the one ahead of the questions, you can be seen as a trustworthy advisor.
I am educating my client so that if they decide to buy or sell, they are informed and up to date, but I am also taking up space in their brain because I am coming at them from different angles.
When I take up more market share in their heads, I stay top of mind when they decide to enter real estate or act as a referral when they know someone who is.
Blogs Are Not Dead
As I said, the emails were bite-sized, but some clients were looking for more of a deep dive into our topics.
Some real nerdy clients want an all-encompassing understanding, which leads us to create a blog in January of 2022. Now those blog posts are a living resource beyond the emails that people can use as a reference in one central hub.
So now we are pumping out a weekly blog. And if I thought a weekly email was hard, then ramping up to a blog was -laugh-. But everything is relative, and you can pump it out if you create a process and systems.
Because of the systems, we can have the bandwidth to create more content and value. And what was crazy was that the number of subscribers we had in January of 2022 jumped significantly to February 2022 when we released the blog. We jumped from 286 to 327, and for one month, that’s nuts, considering I was only promoting it on Instagram.
And what’s even better is we use the blog as a resource for our newsletter, making it still bite-sized and value packed but offering a deep dive option with our blogs.
So email marking is the unsexy part of our business.
Others do not see email lists, and there are no vanity metrics; only you know where you’re at. This prompts the question of why put the time into email marketing when we’re so conditioned to put our efforts in places people can see?
Well, it’s because blogs are not dead. What was crazy was that when we started the blog, I didn’t close any sales in January and February, which are typically slow months for me; then, we suddenly increased to four transactions in March. Keep in mind we only started the blog in January, and the newsletter and blog was the only consistent thing I was doing in January and February. But as a result, my average price point increased from $350k to $450k with a total volume of almost 2 million. So not only did I have an increase in my volume, but I also had an increase in the type of seller.
Because I had established myself as an expert and packed my knowledge into a way people could digest and understand, people wanted to work with me and have a relationship with me on a higher level.
Ayla: So much to unpack there! Thank you so much! I mean, it all comes full circle. Email marketing and the blog are not dead; they come back to how we own both.
It is content we get to create that Instagram cannot take away from us. Blogs are also another touch point to connect and position authority in your space. There is probably a million to one real estate agent in Billings, Montana. Still, because you’re showing up consistently in their inbox, you’re top of mind pouring into them with free value, and if they have to buy or sell or know someone who does, they’re going to think of you.
We can apply this to social media in everything! It’s giving and pouring into your audience, positioning ourselves as the experts because we are, and that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.
So yes, Kelly is creating newsletters and blogs, but she’s also repurposing her content across different platforms.
You can repurpose the same content and ideas without constantly proving new concepts and drawing on multiple resources. Think of social media as numerous touch points communicating the same message so you can focus your value and conserve your time.
Buying a Home
Question: What are some of the things, as a Realtor, that are high-level tips you would offer to someone thinking of buying a home as a first-time homeowner or an entrepreneur?
Answer: So, one of the things you need to be thinking about is your timeline. If you’re thinking about starting a business or already have a business, that mortgage lender qualifying you is going to say, “you can afford X amount, and this is what we will loan you.” The mortgage broker, realtor, and title company are the triangle company team that will help you close a house. Some people use attorneys to close the house as well.
When it comes to the mortgage side of things, they need to qualify your income, and when you’re self-employed, that income needs to have a timeline and history. So if you are in the middle of your business, you are going to need to provide a history of your business, and they like to see two years.
If you don’t have two years, they like to see you in the industry and doing the same thing. For example, suppose I’m a roofer, and I’m going to start a social media business. In that case, they will need two years of history for that social media business to qualify you. But if I am a roofer starting a roofing company, they can use a year of income. The timeline with being an entrepreneur, especially a solo entrepreneur, is make or break when it comes to buying a property.
Ayla – Yeah, and that was precisely what happened to me. Thankfully, I have been in this industry for 12 years, so I had that in my back pocket. But I was also an employee and a contractor and didn’t fully enter my business until a year ago. So things ebbed and flowed until January 2022, which made things tricky. I had to prove and show many years of income, taxes, and pay stubs.
Taxes, you guys, as entrepreneurs in Canada, they’re a lot. You have to put 33% of everything you earn every month to pay your taxes, and if you don’t have a system around this, I highly recommend a bookkeeper or accountant. I am thankful I had an outstanding accountant with everything I needed, and he was an email away and incredibly responsive and organized.
Also, if you have any remaining taxes left to be paid, spoiler alert, they need to be paid.
If you’re like me and do things in instalments, that is no bueno.
So another thing is because I live in Calgary, the homes here are not 300k; they’re a lot more. So another thing that needed to happen as a first-time homeowner is you’re normally expected to pay 5% as a down payment. But as an entrepreneur, the lenders will give you 5% down on the first 500k but 10% on the remaining. So that was also something unexpected for a first-time homeowner. This is for all banks and all lenders; as an entrepreneur, they will only allow 5% down on the first 500k. Something to keep in mind when saving for your down payment!
It’s a lot and stressful! It’s also a somewhat invasive process! I had to show all my T4s, bank statements, taxes, and personal and financial information! I would have also liked to know I had to pay for a lawyer, an inspection, and the increased downpayment – all of these things that I was perhaps a little naive about.
Okay, My Loves!
I so hope you found this helpful, and I can’t wait to see you all start to utilize email lists, newsletters, blogs, and systems to better your business! I also hope you learned a little from my experience buying my first home and can prepare for the adventure ahead when doing the same!
Until next week. Love ya, queen! Xo
If you found this episode valuable, I would love it if you could screenshot it and tag me on social! It means the world! xo
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