Monday, March 4, 2024

The jobs, gigs and side hustles agents took on to get through 2023

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It’s no secret that 2023 was a tough year for many real estate agents.

Rising mortgage rates sent buyers and sellers scurrying, inventory was tight and home prices held high. In the face of these adverse conditions, agents were left trying to find ways to keep property moving and ensure their own income.

George Williams | Key Realty

For some real estate agents, that meant leaning more heavily on a spouse’s income. Take George Williams of Key Realty LTD in Maumee, Ohio, who told Inman that he strongly considered picking up some kind of job on the side this year because everything was moving so slowly. Fortunately, his wife who is employed full-time was able to support their family of four on her income. Now, he said, the market is actually picking up, so he feels more confident going into 2024.

But for other agents who couldn’t necessarily rely on a spouse or other family member’s income this past year, it became time to find a new side gig to make ends meet. Unfortunately, because of the stigma sometimes associated with side gigs as a real estate agent, some agents were hesitant to talk to Inman for this story.

However, a slow market is a real concern agents must face — and there’s no shame in committing to short- or long-term solutions to provide yourself with a steady income.

That’s where Uber, DoorDash, blogging, printing and other side hustles came into play. Because at the end of the day, real estate agents are hustlers and entrepreneurs — and these are the opportunities they latched onto when 2023 got rough.

Blogging and content strategy

Erin Hybart | ReErin

As Erin Hybart watched the market take a turn at the beginning of 2023, she decided it was time for her to make a plan to gradually transition out of working as a real estate agent.

“I started a blog in June 2023 to slowly pivot out of real estate because I see where the real estate industry and the housing market are going,” Hybart said. She was ready to have more of her income come from a source that wasn’t so reliant on the market.

By developing her blog, which is focused on alternative housing options and tiny space living, Hybart formed skills in SEO, content strategy and affiliate marketing while sharing informative posts about some of her passions in housing. Now, Hybart is also able to hire herself out in these skill areas to other individuals and make money doing so.

Once she scales these businesses up enough, Hybart said she intends to keep real estate in her life as a referral business.

Print services

Yelena Bally | KW Bellevue

Yelena Bally and her partner, Nick Myrben, are both real estate agents in greater Bellevue, Washington. When business slowed down earlier this year, the couple knew they needed some other kind of additional income, so they decided to take some of the skills they had developed as agents and funnel them into new income streams by opening their own print shop, Your Neighborhood Print Shop.

The couple’s shop handles jobs like print marketing, direct mail and graphic design across all kinds of industries — including real estate.

“We had no background [in printing] and wanted a way to help other agents since I am still a full-time agent,” Bally told Inman. “We opened last March when we knew both of us needed something on the side.”

The gig allows them to continue their real estate business and the marketing skills they’ve developed through it while bringing in more cash and providing a service to other agents in their community.

Uber driver

The flexibility that drive-for-hire gigs like Uber or Lyft offer makes it a helpful gig for real estate agents who still want to be able to make time for clients whenever necessary.

Joseph Magsaysay of Globl Red at Real said on Inman Coast to Coast’s Facebook page that this is a gig he’s seen agent friends take on in the last year. Agents can choose their own hours (drivers are always in demand), and earn tips as well, which is an added perk.

Real estate team assistant

Agents who were perhaps a bit more hesitant to take on work that was too far outside of the industry looked to busy and/or large real estate teams this year to see how they could apply their skills to the team — and bump their income while doing so. This is another strategy Magsaysay said some of his friends had turned to during the market shift.

Some agents took on a transaction coordinator role, while others served as showing agents at listings or open houses. Regardless, they kept their feet wet within the real estate industry, even if transactions for them personally slowed down.

Bartender or restaurant worker

Joseph Magsaysay | Globl Red

Jobs within the service industry, including bartenders and other restaurant workers (managers, waiters, hosts, etc.), are closely aligned to the role of the real estate agent. Perhaps that’s why some of Magsaysay’s agent friends took on these gigs as well over the course of the last year.

Real estate agents are service-oriented and often go above and beyond to help their clients. Those traits are also naturally helpful in restaurant and bar settings, industries that continue to need more workers as they rebound from the pandemic.

“These are just a few [side gigs agents have adopted,] Magsaysay said. “Let’s normalize helping each other. There should be no shame in having a side gig. At the end of the day, we are all entrepreneurs. That means we have several businesses. Uber is a business. [I’m] here for you if you want to brainstorm. You got this! Happy Holidays!”

Email Lillian Dickerson

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