Are you being held back by the 8 barriers to success blogpost for estate agents by Sam Ashdown

If you’re feeling frustrated that success always seems to be right around the corner, but that you can’t quite get there, you’re not alone. Having worked with independent estate agents for over two decades, I can tell you that rarely do I hear an agent tell me they feel they’ve ‘finally made it’.

But why? We can blame the market, our vendors, the competition…. But none of these is the reason you’re not succeeding.

Through working with hundreds of agents, we’ve identified 8 barriers to success we find hold them back again and again.

Let’s dive into them and while you’re reading, ask yourself honestly how many you’re guilty of…

1. Your Ability to Manage Your Mental or Emotional State

First things first, let’s talk about mental and emotional well-being. Your mindset plays a huge role in your success as a business owner. If you only show up at a 6/10, how do you expect your team and clients to show up higher than that?

2. Your Attitude Towards/Relationship with Money

What’s your ‘money mindset? Do you find yourself saying things like, ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’, or are you more, ‘you have to speculate to accumulate’? As a business owner, investment is inevitable, so it comes down to whether you have the financial acumen to make astute investments and manage your money.

3. Your Ability to Generate Valuation Leads

Valuation leads are the lifeblood of your business as an estate agent. If you’re struggling to generate leads, it’s time to re-evaluate your approach. We see lead generation as a pyramid, with the most important activities at the base. For example, there’s no point in sponsoring your local football team if you’re not sending out letters (both ‘on the market’, and ‘not on market’ letters). Start with the basics of direct mail, then move onto social media, and finally community building. That way you’ll get the best return on your time, money, and effort.

4. The Perceived Value of Your Offer or Service

How do your clients perceive the value of your offer or service? If they don’t see the value, why would they choose you? Are your marketing materials, messaging, and branding all in alignment with the kind of client you’re trying to attract? There’s no point in pursuing the ‘Waitrose’ market if you’re offering ‘Aldi’ service.

5. You Don’t Follow Up Effectively

Following up with potential clients is crucial, yet many agents struggle in this area. Whether it’s because you don’t know what to say or you simply forget, it’s time to up your follow-up game. Create a system for tracking leads and scheduling follow-up communications. Remember, consistency is key. Don’t let a competitor scoop up an instruction from an old lead just because you didn’t bother to stay on their radar.

6. The People You Surround Yourself With

They say you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Take a moment to reflect on the people in your inner circle. Are they supportive, positive influences who lift you up and inspire you to succeed? Or are they negative, energy-draining individuals who hold you back? Surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams and encourage you to take a dip in a freezing cold lake….

Lake swim Jan24

7. Lack of Structure

Do you have a clear plan and structure in place for your business? Without a roadmap to guide you, it’s easy to feel lost and overwhelmed. Business plans don’t need to be elaborate–a list of things you want to achieve this year or quarter, together with a plan to get them done is all you really need. Keep it to one page and stick it on the wall where you can refer to it often, and it’s more likely to actually happen. Same with your organisational chart. Even if you don’t yet employ anyone, how will your team structure look like when you do? Sketch it out now, and include in your business plan a route to making it happen.

8. You’re Not Spending Enough of Your Time on £1,000 an Hour Tasks

Time is your most valuable resource as a business owners. (See the ‘Buy Back Your Time’ blogpost on this.) Ask yourself, are you spending your time and energy on tasks that generate the highest return on investment? Or are you getting bogged down in low-value activities that could be delegated or automated? Identify your £1,000 an hour tasks—those high-impact activities that directly contribute to your bottom line — and prioritise them above all else.

Phil and I are guilty too….

I would say my biggest obstacle is number 8–I find it a challenge not to get stuck in the weeds and instead work on the big ticket items that are going to move the needle the most. Phil’s most challenging barrier is number 1 – keeping his emotional and mental state strong and positive in the face of a tricky market and disappointing cash flow!

How about you? What do you struggle the most with?

When you’re ready, here are 3 ways we can help you:

1. Reach out for a call with Sam – choose from three different calls to help you overcome your specific challenges. All free and without strings. Grab a coffee and let’s get to work

2. Come and spend the day with Phil and me, at AshdownJones’ HQ, in our beautiful Lake District. Meet the team, check out our systems and marketing, and enjoy meeting like-minded (non-competing) agency owners. We’ll even put on lunch! Book your place here

Town Head Mastermind Intensive Jan24 with Sam and Phil

3. Join our Facebook community of super-ambitious independent agents

Hope to catch up with you soon and find out how you’re growing your business!

Till then,


Sam Ashdown, an independent estate agent

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