This week, I lost my voice.
Turns out I've been putting myself under too much stress and pushing too hard as a real estate agent. I should've taken a full day to rest it, but I didn't and then I lost it almost completely.
It's been a trying time. I've made fewer deals than I thought I would have at this point, and just last week one of the few deals I did make, fell through.
I said to myself before coming here that if I at least made back what I spent to get here, I'd be happy, but that's not the story I was building for myself in my head. In truth, I'd set goals much higher for myself. I thought if I put all of my effort into it, that maybe I would make $10,000 by the end of the summer. Now that the summer's almost over, I'm at a point where I'll be lucky if I make $3000.
Sometimes I board the bus to get to an apartment showing because I don't want to take yet another $10 Uber ride and I think about how I've been boarding the bus my entire life. I wonder if I'll ever stop being poor. If I'll ever have my own car and not be afraid to drive it.
The past two days, I started losing my voice at a time I could have been showing tons of apartments. It was frustrating to see lots of opportunities to make money go by, but it also made me pause. I think everything in life happens for a reason. I think losing my voice happened because I needed an adjustment in my approach to this job. In this time of silence, I've keep returning to the same thought: working harder doesn't necessarily always mean making more money.
I'm not saying that hard work doesn't count, but one thing I've been trying to figure out about this job is what kind of hard work gets results and how I can work hard without burning out. I've been doing tons of showings but I still don't have the results I expected. I'm trying to figure out if there's a different way of doing this where my time is used more effectively, especially because I have so little of it left here.
Last week, someone offered me $175 + tips to pass around h'ordeuvres at a fancy party in Manhattan. I said no. Why? It's not that I'm above working as a waitress at a party. I've done that job many different times in my life. It's because I wanted to escape the hustle. I wanted to stay focused on my goal--making money at real estate.
Do I need the money? For sure. That money could pay for meals or offset the cost of the frequent Uber rides I've taken to show apartments.
I talked it over with my partner, who reminded me of a speech we heard at the Women and Business Challenge back in March. The keynote speaker was Bevy Smith.
She asked, "who in here considers themselves a hustler?" In a room full of entreprenuers, almost everyone raised their hands. Then she said something the effect of, "I don't want to be a hustler, I want to be a boss."
I thought about how I would feel rushing over to Manhattan, serving food while trying to look cute, then rushing back home and waking up the next day to refocus my efforts on real estate. It takes all of my effort and energy to be halfway decent at this job. I knew that taking a serving job, even for one night, even for just a few hours and some good cash, would have done more harm than good.
Sometimes you have to choose to be a boss, not a hustler. Sometimes, working harder does not mean you make more money. And sometimes, you have to shut up and rest your voice.