4 Characteristics That Successful People Share in Common

People who are the most successful often share key traits in common. Let’s take a look at four of those traits and how they contribute to your success.


It is essential that you care about people. People can sense when you care about them, and they will help to contribute to your success. In addition, when you are friendly, you are more likable. We all want to work with people we like, right?


To have good character is vital. When you have integrity, people view you as trustworthy, and it is essential that you are considered to be trustworthy in order for people to want to do business with you.

One component of integrity is consistency. It’s important to apply your same personal rules, guidelines, and actions across the board in all different situations in your life. Otherwise, you run the risk of people viewing you as unfair or inequitable.

Another important component of integrity is being honorable. A good test for this is to ask yourself if you would be proud of what you are doing or saying no matter who was watching or listening. If the answer is yes, you’re on the right track.

Work Ethic

There is no substitute for hard work. Even when you have many great traits, success will not come automatically. There may be some late nights or weekends that are filled with more work than fun, but sometimes, that is simply what people need to do to get the desired results.

In our on-demand, instant gratification society, your clients, customers, and coworkers want to hear from you soon after they contact you. Set yourself apart from your competition by responding as quickly as you can, even if just to let them know that you will get back to them with a more detailed answer soon.


We asked mega-successful ($8 billion+ sold) real estate pro Dolly Lenz what she thought the top trait that successful people share is. Her reply? “Passion!”

Merriam-Webster defines passion as: “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.” Make sure you’re in a profession that you feel excited and enthusiastic about, and your energy and enthusiasm for your work will shine through. This passion will also propel you through those long days of hard work on your road to success.

What other traits have you seen that successful people share? Let us know in the comments!

4 Essential Tips for Building Your Personal Brand

There has been a lot of talk lately about “personal brands.” A person’s “brand” can also be thought of as other people’s perceptions of you, the things for which you are known, or your reputation. As an entrepreneur, small business owner, or real estate professional, your business is closely intertwined with your personal brand. When consumers have many choices when it comes time to choose a real estate agent, for example, they are going to trust someone whose brand they respect and admire.

Therefore, it’s smart to proactively focus on building your “personal brand” in a way that coincides with how you want the world to view your business — and you. Check out these tips for helping you to build your personal brand (and hopefully increase your business along the way!).

1) Be Authentic

Discover your true strengths and build on those. You may consider taking a personality inventory to discover your essential characteristics. In addition, consider how you can market your traits as strengths that will benefit your customers. Is one of your strengths being a great listener? Let your prospective customers know you will listen closely to their needs. Are you friendly and outgoing? Focus on building your customer base via networking.

2) Specialize

In addition to knowing your best traits, know what you do best. Focus on becoming a specialist in one area rather than a jack-of-all-trades, and become known for excelling at one thing in particular. Your goal is to become known for your strengths in a way that differentiates you from everyone else.

3) Maintain Your Online Image

The Internet is a huge part of many people’s lives, and it is often the first place people go when they are looking for information. Do a Google search on yourself and check out the results you get. Being knowledgeable about what is on the Internet about you when people are looking for you, whether it is a prospective customer, employer, or business associate, is critical to managing your brand. Take a look at your social media presence, your website, where you comment online, what you are saying, and how people are responding.

Make sure to always keep email addresses and usernames professional-sounding, and invest in a great, professional photograph for your social media profiles and business card. Hire a professional photographer to take high-quality pictures of you because, as some say, “image is everything.” Use that same great photo or your professional company logo anywhere you need to provide an image.

4) Be Consistent and Honorable

A huge part of being well-respected is, of course, being respectable! Focus on being proud of what you do and how you do it — all the time — and you will cement your reputation as someone people want to do business with. When your top priorities are being kind, respectful, punctual, and professional at all times, you will lead by example, and that’s the best kind of leadership.

What do you think are the most important pieces of advice for building your personal brand? Let us know!

Top Real Estate Tech Tools for 2015

Happy 2015! As a busy real estate agent, you are probably always on the lookout for tools that will make your job easier and save you time. You are probably also frequently on-the-go, and you probably couldn’t live without your phone, right? Good news, there are some fantastic apps out there that can provide you with a wide range of resources to help make your work day simpler, right in the palm of your hand. Here is a sampling of them:

airScan Mobile

No article about great real estate apps would be complete without a mention of our free app airScan Mobile! airScan is your ultimate choice for easily scanning, saving, and sharing documents as PDF or JPG files with your smart phone or tablet. This allows you to have all of your important documents with you on your phone at all times. You can also save and share your scanned files via your favorite storage method such as email, WebDav, Airdrop, Dropbox, Box, iCloud, Skydrive, GDrive, Facebook or Twitter. You can even print your scanned files via AirPrint, right from the app. You can even create, save, and share multimedia files, which is super helpful for marketing your listings. To make airScan even more user-friendly, the app does not have ads to get in your way, and it has voice recognition capability. Download it today for iPhone and iPad and Android!

Curb Call

Curb Call is an app available for iPhone and Android that allows you to nab leads in real-time. As they explain on their website, “Curb Call is an app that connects buyers and buyer agents in real time. Buyer’s who don’t have a go-to agent, will often engage one for the first time, from outside of a listing that they want to see. As on-demand technology permeates our everyday lives, leaving a voicemail for a listing agent just won’t cut it anymore. Buyers who are at the listing want the showing asap. With Curb Call, these buyers can request a nearby and available agent with the press of a single button. If your brokerage is using Curb Call, you could be the one receiving the lead.”


GoConnect is a free app available for iPhone and Android for real estate agents to manage their transactions and leads. According to their App Store description, GoConnect provides “tasks delivered each morning based on what needs to be accomplished that day, 7 customizable plans for current clients and potential new clients…follow-up plans for new leads and new contacts…swiping gestures to easily mark items complete or snooze them for later…[and] daily notification reminders to keep you focused on new tasks and upcoming milestones.”

Which apps are making life simpler for you in 2015? Let us know!

Apps to Get You In the Holiday Spirit!

Have you been so busy this month that the holidays have snuck up on you? Us, too! Good news: there are some awesome apps out there that will quickly get you into the holiday spirit and enjoying the fun of the season. Check out these apps that will keep you entertained whether you are waiting in a long line at the post office or staying warm at home on a cold evening.

Doodle Jump Christmas Special

One of the most popular iPhone games ever now has a festive twist. Doodle now wears a hat and scarf to keep warm as he jumps through the snow. Watch out for the chill-breath monster, though!

Fireplace HD+

The thought of a little fireplace roaring on your iPhone sounds novel, but not necessarily something you would use very often, right? When we read more about Fireplace HD+, however, we found out that you can also use AirPlay to beam the fireplace scene to your Apple TV, which would make a great addition to a room while you are having a party or opening presents. You can also choose a radio station to accompany the scene, and choose from 5 different fireplace scenes.

Christmas Tree

Feeling creative? The Christmas Tree app lets you decorate a Christmas tree with 221 ornaments, trinkets, toppers, gifts, ribbons, and more. You can also add animated lights, snowfall, and music to complete your creation. This is a great way for grown-ups and kids alike to flex their artistic skills with no clean-up required.


Through December 24, you can watch live reindeer on your iPhone, and at certain times you can even watch Santa and his helpers feed the reindeer. Talk about a fun way to bring the North Pole to you!

Holiday Recipes & Party Planning Guide, by Food52

Termed a “cookbook on steroids,” this is the go-to holiday recipe planning book for many holiday hosts. Unlike many print cookbooks, this app includes over 100 minutes of expert HD video tutorials and more than 800 beautiful full-screen food and technique photos in dozens of step-by-step slideshows. It also boasts event-planning guidance and a quick-reference searchable glossary with definitions of concepts, tools, and ingredients to assist you along the way. This is a tool all at-home chefs should have in their back pockets.

What is your favorite app that helps to get you into the holiday spirit?

We wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season!

4 Best Practices For Your Business During the Holiday Season

Retail sales spike during December, and ’tis the season for vacations (which means people seeking out restaurants and entertainment), gift-giving, merriment, and spending. Make sure your business is ready to meet the challenges of potentially having more customers than ever before, and prepared to offer those customers a fantastic holiday experience so that they will continue to return into the new year! Check out our advice for best practices for your business during December.

Send Holiday Cards

Consider sending a holiday card to your current customers in the mail (handwritten and personalized, if feasible). This is a friendly thing to do, it will stand out since not every business does it, it will remind your customers about your business, and it gives you the opportunity to enclose a coupon or gift card.

Be Helpful

Figure out how your business can be helpful to people during the holiday season and advertise and implement those things. Could you offer a free gift with purchase? Helpful advice in the form of an e-newsletter? One of the best ways to make your presence known is to offer something helpful, whether tangible or intangible.

Help your customers (and promote your products simultaneously) by sending an email with gift ideas tailored to the people on their list with headings like: “gifts for mom,” “great gifts for co-workers and neighbors.”

You may also want to consider offering extended hours to make shopping as convenient as possible for your customers.


Consider teaming up with another local business cross-advertise. For example, you could give them a free gift certificate from your business for them to raffle off at their holiday party. You could also donate a gift certificate to local schools or nonprofit organizations that may be having a holiday celebration.This not only acts as free advertising for you, but you may get new customers as a result.

Provide Excellent Customer Service

Great customer service may make the difference between retaining a customer or losing a customer (in addition to customers speaking well of your business or not). Hire extra staff if necessary, train them well, and focus on good service. Help ease your customers’ holiday stress by having plenty of staff members on hand and ready to take questions or concerns on the phone (and via instant message on your website). The goal is to provide every customer with quick, effective, cordial service.

What are your favorite tips for businesses during the holiday season?

Try These Content Marketing Strategies for Your Small Business

Content marketing, which is, by definition, creating and distributing relevant content to attract, acquire, and engage your target audience, is a fantastic, low-cost (and in this day and age, necessary) way to build awareness of your business and position yourself as an authority within your field. Here are content marketing strategies to try for the purpose of promoting your business.

Plan your content ahead of time

Have a title-brainstorming session about the kinds of topics in which your target audience may be interested. Look at your website analytics with a tool such as SEOBook to see which pages are most popular, and check the referring pages to see how people are getting to those pages. This should give you an idea of what types of content your website visitors are looking for.

Check out question sites such as Quora, Yahoo Answers, and LinkedIn Answers to see what questions people are already asking. How could you provide answers to those questions? You always want to be thinking in terms of what kind of content will be valuable to your target audience.

Repurpose the content you do create to make sure you are getting good use out of great ideas. For example, if you put together a presentation for a meeting, consider writing a blog post summarizing your key points and embedding your slides into the post. Not only does this save you time and money, but it also provides your audience with multiple ways of getting that information in formats that work for them (blog posts, Twitter, Slideshare, podcasts, etc.).

Create “bite-sized” chunks of content

Create content that can be easily consumed in under a minute. In addition, break your blog posts and emails up into short paragraphs. This will not only make them easier to read for visitors, it’s also good for search engines, because the headers and subheaders are great places to include keywords and related keyword phrases. Give extra attention to text formatting features that will make your article easier to read, such as bold font and bullet points.

Search engine optimize your content

When your content is ready to post, the next step is to optimize it for search engines such as Google, so that potential customers can find your content (and, therefore, your website).

Start by researching which keywords and keyword phrases get the most traffic for a particular topic, using Google’s Keyword Tool or another similar tool. Use these relevant keywords or keyword phrases in your content title, in the names of the images you include, and throughout the entire article.

Create backlinks to your content

The more backlinks that point to your content, the more valuable search engines will think your content is (but be careful — those links need to be authentic and from high-quality sources). To increase the number of backlinks to your content, you can write comments on relevant articles, blog posts and forums with a link back to your website or blog URL. Just make sure your comment adds value to the conversation.

Content marketing is an ever-changing field. What are the content marketing strategies you have tried that have had the best return on investment?

5 Creative Real Estate Marketing Ideas

Every successful real estate agent knows to present homes for sale in an appealing light when advertising them. But what are the best ways to do that? Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing in order to creatively (and effectively) market the homes and buildings you are selling.

Spotlight the Appeal of the Region

Consider focusing on marketing the unique features that the region in which the house is located has to offer. Are there great parks or restaurants nearby? A great job market? Is the area known for being especially safe or having great schools? Are there any major attractions nearby? These questions can guide you toward creating a summary about the benefits of living in that particular region or neighborhood.

Participate in Pinterest

As a social media website that is very visually-driven, Pinterest provides a great opportunity for you to show photos of your listings. Add value to your page and draw followers to your account by also posting interior and exterior decorating ideas. You could even choose a theme such as seasonal or holiday decorating, Mid-Century decorating, or “shabby chic” styles.

Inspire Young Buyers with Instagram

If you are selling apartments or houses (especially in urban areas), which might appeal to a younger crowd, consider heading to Instagram to market your listings. In addition to featuring properties, share pictures of local clubs, shops and restaurants to highlight the fun, hip vibe of the area.

Give Stuff Away

At your local farmer’s market, open house, grocery store, or your office, you could offer potential and current clients gift bags containing items such as key chains with your name and logo, magnets, pens, note pads, tote bags and t-shirts.

Do Volunteer Work in the Community

You could sponsor a local highway, help out at your local soup kitchen, community center, or school, or provide a free class to the local senior citizen center or nursing home. This will help to get your name well-known in the community, and most importantly, it will help you to make your community a better place.

What are your favorite creative marketing ideas? Let us know in the comments!

4 Tips for Networking Like a Pro

One of the best ways to build and expand your business is networking. Successful networking gives you a bigger pool of leads, contacts, and potential business partners and colleagues. Here are a few tips that will help you to network like a pro.

Be Interested

Don’t worry so much about being “interesting,” and instead focus on being interested. Show genuine interest in getting to know the person with whom you’re talking. As a result, you will seem much more interesting than if you dominate the conversation with a monologue about your business. Remember, networking is about relationship building first, and then the business interactions can follow. Focus on making the person with whom you are interacting feel special and important. Look for things about that person that are likable and interesting, and focus on those things. If you would rather find another conversation partner, politely excuse yourself and find a new person to talk with.

Be Relaxed and Positive

If you just had a terrible day and can’t shake a bad mood, it may not be the best time to attend a networking event. It is essential to project a positive, personable attitude so that people will want to talk with you and associate with you. It is also helpful to look relaxed and approachable so that more people will feel like starting conversations with you. If you feel nervous, take time to do something to help yourself to relax before the event, smile when you get there, and remember that the other attendees are in the same boat.

Carry Business Cards

This tip generally goes without saying, but we are going to add to it. Different people you meet will want to keep in touch in different ways, so include as much contact information on your business card as you are comfortable sharing. For example, you may want to consider including your phone number, email address, website URL, LinkedIn page, Facebook, and Twitter.

In addition, consider bringing blank business cards or index cards to fill out contact information for people you want to keep in touch with who may not have their own cards.

Share a Story

People love to hear stories. They are engaging and more fun to hear than dry news or statistics. Come to a networking event prepared with a funny, sweet or surprising story that has happened to you or that you have heard lately. Whether the story is about your business or your kids, an interesting tale can help you to bring a few laughs and forge a connection with new contacts.

What networking tips have you learned over the years?

4 Helpful Apps for Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, you may be on a tight budget. Therefore, any apps that will help you to run your business efficiently and effectively will be helpful to you. If those apps are inexpensive or free, even better! That’s why we have rounded up this list of great apps for business owners that you can use as a guide.

1) airScan Mobile for iPhone and iPad and for Android

No article about helpful business apps would be complete without mentioning our own free PDF document scanner app airScan Mobile! With airScan, you use your phone or tablet’s camera as the scanner and then you can save your scan as a PDF or JPG, share via email, WebDav, Airdrop, Dropbox, Box, iCloud, Skydrive, GDrive, Facebook or Twitter, and print via AirPrint. Best of all, its ad-free!

AirScan is a great choice for business owners who want to scan, sync, share, and manage various content across all computers and devices. An an additional convenient feature, airScan Mobile also has built-in voice recognition.

2) Addappt for iPhone and Android

This free app is an “always up-to-date address book that updates instantly when friends change their contact information on their phone” according to its App Store description. This is a great way to ensure that you never lose the vital info of your business contacts and customers.

3) Mailbox for iPhone and Android

According to its website, “Mailbox lets you put off messages until later and returns them to your inbox automatically, so you can focus on what’s important now.” You can “add all your Gmail, Google Apps, and iCloud accounts to enjoy a simple, unified inbox.” With Mailbox you can glance at each message in your inbox and decide if you need to delay reading it until later today, tomorrow, next week, or a different time.

4) Mynd for iPhone

Mynd “finds places in the content of your calendar events, and will let you know how long it’ll take to get there.  With the Mynd  Premium upgrade, you’ll get “when to leave alerts” for meetings based on current traffic conditions. Launch your favorite navigation app directly from Mynd and get turn-by-turn directions” according to its website. This will help you to ensure that you aren’t late for important meetings.

Do you have another favorite business app? Let us know in the comments!

Top Strategies for Connecting with Customers via Social Media

The fantastic thing about social media as a tool for marketing and advertising your small business is that you can potentially reach many people for a relatively low cost. Your current and prospective customers are on Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites, so it makes sense for you to invest time (or invest money in paying someone to help you) in building large social networks and connecting with your customers every chance you can. Let’s take a look at some best practices for connecting with your customers and potential leads via social media.

1) Ask Questions

Plain and simple, people generally enjoy talking about themselves. Ask your followers on Twitter or Facebook how their days are going or if they have plans this weekend. Elicit your customers’ opinions or questions about your product or services. This can help to inform your product development roadmap or help you to focus on providing services that are most useful to your customers.

On a larger scale, you can ask your customers to share their stories or testimonials about how your product or services have helped them — which can then be shared via your blog or social media, or even in traditional print or online advertisements.

2) Provide Helpful Content

Provide tweets, Facebook posts, and blog posts that give your customers and leads valuable information. This can motivate them to follow you and to continue to check out your blog or social media page. They will feel that they are gaining a constant stream of valuable information by following you, and you will build a solid, loyal follower base. This creates a mutually helpful business relationship: you help them by providing tips that help them in their lives and careers, and they help you by following your business social media accounts (which helps you to create awareness about your product or services and, hopefully, convert leads into customers).

Keep the 80/20 rule in mind: 80 percent of the content you share via social media and your blog should be helpful for your readers and non-promotional, while 20 percent can be promotional.

3) Create a Network of People Who Support Each Other

At its best, social media is a community of people sharing interests and great ideas with each other, and supporting each other in their endeavors. The larger and more lively your group of followers becomes, the more likely that group of people can actually be a great community of people who are assets for each other. This is another way that your social media accounts can add value for your customers.

4) Thank Your Followers

Depending on how large your social media followings are, thank your followers as often as you can. Great times to send a quick “thank you” are after a follower has retweeted one of your tweets or liked one of your posts, sent a nice comment, or right after a person starts following you, if time allows.

It’s always a great idea to take time to nurture your business relationships via social media. The connections you make there can help to form your solid, loyal customer base and will help you to establish your great business reputation. Please share your tips for connecting with customers via social media in the comments below!