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— by Tylee Leighton

What I’ve Learned Since My Husband Joined My Team

I founded my team in 2016 after twelve years in real estate. With two kids, eighteen & six, both on the autism spectrum, the busier I got in real estate the more I resented my husband’s J-O-B. His schedule was inflexible, he needed thirty days’ notice to get a day off, and any kid-related emergency landed in my lap. Add to that, I was bringing home double what he made which made me feel even more irritated because I was expected to bring home the bacon with half the time, double the stress, and no availability on Saturdays.  

Lab Coat Agents, Nick Baldwin, Tristan Ahumada, labcoatagents.com, Real Estate, Tylee Leighton, Partner, Spouse

So, after a major “come to Jesus” discussion about our life, our marriage, and what we needed to do to actually enjoy life together instead of being ships passing in the night, my husband made the ultimate “I believe in you” move and got his real estate license. He left the security of his J-O-B; saying goodbye to a regular paycheck, benefits, and possibly his sanity to support my dreams and goals. It was a huge move for us as we are a second marriage. We have been together for eleven years as a couple – so that means he watched me struggle as the market crashed. He knows the good, the bad, and the ugly of the choice he made. Real estate can be an emotional roller coaster.  

CHOICES…CHOICES… 

The first choice I faced was how to bring him aboard and in what role. Would he be joining the team or joining me in leadership? This is not an easy decision for anyone bringing their spouse into their business. On one side, I have fourteen years’ experience, am an associate broker, a trainer, and have worked hard to get to where I am. He is just newbie agent, albeit one that has been married to real estate for nine years.  On the other side, making him anything other than equal could put a strain on our marriage. As parents of special needs kids, we already have a ton of daily stress. Could we take the added stress of wife as boss?  

Lab Coat Agents, Nick Baldwin, Tristan Ahumada, labcoatagents.com, Real Estate, Tylee Leighton, Partner, Spouse

In the end, I decided to make him my partner…my equal partner. The main factors that made me decide to make him a partner were how much he had walked away from (retirement, career, upward mobility), how he was going to be helping me (operations, back-end, team management – I.E. Cat Herder), and what doing it any other way could cost my marriage. Risking my marriage over maintaining solo leadership of my team was not a cost I was willing to bear. Giving him equal ownership of the team also provided him increased motivation to dig and showcase all the NCO skills he learned in the US Army.  

LETTING GO… 

After running my business on my own since day one and my team for over a year I will admit to being a control freak. That said, I made the realization that I was going to have to let go of some things and let him take them over. At first it was pretty much “honey, here is all the tedious crap I hate” but that was not the best plan to get him excited about real estate. Then we did some personality tests and learned some important things about ourselves and how we could work together effectively. Turns out leadership and teamwork fell into his wheel house. Not really a surprise as he retired from the military as an E8 (Master Sergeant). My tests showed I was higher in creativity, energy and things like zest which makes sense as I am a high IS with a strong D. Army man is a high DC. 

Lab Coat Agents, Nick Baldwin, Tristan Ahumada, labcoatagents.com, Real Estate, Tylee Leighton, Partner, Spouse

We are still sorting out duties. We are looking at each part of the team management and the real estate business to determine which of us is stronger in that skill. Examples: 

  • Coordinating open houses for team members and making sure they have all their marketing materials – Him 
  • Weekly Team Huddle to assess team members, production and motivation – Me 
  • Making sure all transaction files are green lighted by closing – Him 
  • Training sessions and group activities for the team – Me 
  • Spearheading quarterly client appreciation events – Him 
  • Recruiting new team members – Me 
  • Assigning leads – Him 
  • Lead Generation – Me 

NEW WAYS OF DOING THINGS 

Partnering up with my husband has also changed how I attack each day. We now sit down together to coordinate the weekly schedule and review our calendars every morning. This has oddly made us more organized at home, too! We are sorting pick-ups, doctors’ appointments, and meal prep like rock stars along with the tasks of running a team and being active agents. It’s been a couple of months and we are getting in the groove of this working together. I am learning not to see this coordination as an intrusion on my routine, and he is learning how to time block. 

TEACHING AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS 

At fifty, my husband is having to adjust to the concept of working for yourself. This is new to him. He had tried real estate in the past and lost forty pounds due to stress. We were on someone else’s team working in different rolls…not really working together, but not apart completely either. He hated real estate. He hated the inconsistency. This time around it is different, but I still needed to tweak some things. An agent from my accountability group (Jessica Leiler) had shown me how she uses a binder and has daily, weekly, and monthly MOO’s (Mode of Operation) checklists to track the tasks for the three businesses she owns. It gave me a great idea on what I could do to give my task-oriented hubby structure in an otherwise structure-lacking profession. 

He knows what he needs to do each day because he has a binder filled with checklists – this is something my Army Man understands and can work with. We may tweak his lists after a few more months of him learning more about real estate and me continuing to become more comfortable letting him takeover tasks. I can relax a little because I know that those items will be done.  

Lab Coat Agents, Nick Baldwin, Tristan Ahumada, labcoatagents.com, Real Estate, Tylee Leighton, Partner, Spouse

Working with your spouse isn’t for everyone. There are risks. Not just the financial one of having a ton of eggs in one basket, but emotional risks as well. The benefits, though, are pretty spectacular when you take down the walls and let each person build upon their individual strengths! Teamwork – got to love it! 

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