Tara Allen began her career as a real estate agent on July 28, 2012, but she's already become a perfect example for what ambition and goals can help you achieve. In her first nine months as an agent, she sold 48 homes and also achieved her goal of paying off her student loans. By Feb. 28, 2013, she capped out, becoming only the third person to do so in the Sioux Falls (S.D.), market center. In 2012, her closed volume was $1.4 million. In 2013 she saw an 87% increase, ending the year at $11.4 million in volume.
"Ambition and success go hand in hand," Allen says. "I am fortunate to have a natural drive within me. There are thinkers, and there are doers, and I am one who just does it and figures out the details as I go. You can talk yourself out of anything, but if you just go do it, you will be surprised at the opportunities that will be presented."
Allen did exactly that when she made the tough decision to realize her longtime dream of becoming a real estate agent. Her father and grandmother encouraged her, the latter even giving her a Donald Trump book titled, Think Big and Kick A**.
"One day while my husband and I were out fishing on our boat, I was reading this book, and I looked at him and said, 'I'm going to quit my job on Monday and go into real estate!'" she recalls. "My mind was made up, so that's just what I did."
Concerned about moving backward in earning potential, Allen immediately set a goal of making $100,000 her first year. She ultimately doubled that goal, which she credits to Keller Williams Realty.
Get Educated and Trained
"Choosing Keller Williams was my first and best decision as a new agent," she says. "The models, culture, technology, extensive training and great mentors have provided me with all the resources I needed to get me to where I am today."
"I took Ignite while I was waiting for my real estate license," she says. "That helped me build a database, create my vision board and learn the importance of lead generating. About three months in, I finally had a couple closings and made some money, so I booked the trip to Mega Camp. I was really nervous, but it was one of the best things I could have done. Who better to teach me how to grow my business than a bunch of agents who are already successful? If you have the chance, go! I would not have achieved the level of success I have if it weren’t for the knowledge and motivation these opportunities provided for me."
Find a Mentor or Someone Similar
Allen also found learning opportunities within the market center in mentors Tony Ratchford, the operating principal, and Patrick Showers, her team leader.
"Tony’s knowledge from more than 30 years in the business and his drive and passion for helping others accomplish their goals has helped me overcome many obstacles and has kept me moving forward to achieve more than I could have dreamed," she says. "Patrick’s enthusiasm and ability to light a fire under anyone’s butt has driven me to try new things, think outside the box and create my own path to success."
Create an Accountable Environment
Creating her own path to success included coming up with ways to build in accountability for herself, like completing her 411 and weekly coaching sessions with Showers, while also driving her daily motivation.
"Making a to-do list the night before helps keep me on task for what needs to be done each day," she says. "A good morning workout with some affirmations also helps get your energy up and get you into the right mindset. Keeping a record of some of your accomplishments can help you to stay focused, too. For instance, each time I made a payment on my student loans, I would cross off the balance and write my new balance. Keeping that in reach helped me remember how good it felt to make that payment. I also have a chain that hangs from my office ceiling with 80 links on it, and for each closing I have, I get to cut a link off and put it in my '80 houses in 2013' bowl. You just have to find what works for you."
Invest in Your Business and Your Brand
Allen’s primary sources of business are open houses, for sale by owners, door-knocking and networking events. She also invests in online marketing.
"I invested in Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow and a Google Ad Word search. You don’t have to spend tons, but you should be putting a percentage of your earnings back into your business." That rounds out to $875 each month, or $10,500 annually, for Allen.
What’s next for Allen? She’s enrolled in an MBA program with an emphasis on entrepreneurial leadership, and her husband is working to earn his real estate license as well.
"I am going to build The Tara Allen Team and set our goal for 100 houses in 2014," she says. "I will keep us on track with weekly team meetings and just keep doing what I’m doing. I am excited to see what the future holds. If you are not setting high goals, then you are only cheating yourself. I knew setting and achieving my goals would offer me the financial freedom, flexibility and foundation that my family and I were looking for."