In Conversation with Chelsea Petersen of Modern Agent Social Club
Describe Modern Agent Social Club in a few words?
I teach Real Estate Agents how to combine strategic online marketing with personality infused content to build a wildly successful brand.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I saw a gap in the Real Estate industry when it came to the way agents were being told to market and grow their business because I experienced it first hand. The methods being taught felt more like harassing your friends and family with “who do you know looking to buy or sell phone calls,” or throwing money away on online leads out of desperation. I carved my own path that felt more like having a glass of wine with a friend than a sales pitch and I wanted to teach other agents that it could be done. I wanted to change the game for modern thinking agents and in turn, decrease the average fail rate (87% of agents fail in the first 5 years). At the same time, I wanted to create a community around this new way of doing real estate -where agents could lean on and learn from each other all over the country.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I sold residential real estate in a small town in Wisconsin for 6 years prior to starting my online business.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Not always, but I was never willing to settle for just “any job”. After changing my major in college multiple times, and realizing that any of the degrees I would graduate with would barely pay back my student loans, I decided to quit college and start a career in real estate. I was always interested in the industry stemming back to being 7 years old and having my eyes glued to HGTV shows, but also as an adult I didn’t want a “cap” on how much money I could make. I also didn’t want someone else to control when I could go on vacation or what hours I had to work. I wanted to create my own success rather than leave it to climbing a corporate ladder and sitting in a cubicle for the next 40 years.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
I started by building a community of real estate agents on Facebook – I created a free group called the Modern Agent Community where I would provide free education on how to grow your real estate business using social media. I did that through consistent live trainings in the group and taking my role as the leader of the group to foster a community and create a space for agents to share ideas. In addition to the Facebook group, I focused heavily on my Instagram strategy that (like I teach) felt like having a glass of wine with a friend vs DM-ing cold messages to ask people if they needed help with their marketing. I showed up constantly providing value to my followers, writing my posts like a friend vs a sales pitch, and spent a lot of time “networking” online to meet other awesome agents!
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
I wholeheartedly believe that there is enough room at the top for all of us. I have that quote behind my desk where I see it every day and so does everyone in my LIVE videos. However, I had a time where I was consumed with the competition. After seeing success with my membership platform, I started seeing other seemingly similar memberships pop up everywhere. For too long of a time I was always worried about who was copying me and trying to protect my business. One day I realized how much of my energy and brainpower this was taking from me and a light bulb went off. I was completely off of my own track when I knew that the only way to stand out was to stay in my own lane and keep doing what I was doing. That’s when I had that quote written for behind my desk.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I just surpassed 1000 members which was a goal for the past several months and I’m not just proud of the number, but I’m proud that I am able to make an impact in that many people’s lives. My members aren’t just a “transaction” they are family. Being able to interact with them daily and see how their business grows from what they learn in the membership is the most incredible feeling.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
What’s interesting about the real estate industry is that it pushed a lot of agents to turn to modern methods in their business that they previously lacked. There are so many that aren’t educated on modern marketing because the majority of brokers and mentors aren’t teaching that. I think that while many were worried about how they were going to run their business when the pandemic started, at the same time were motivated and inspired to find new ways of doing things. Having a membership where the principles are built on modern marketing helped light that path for people and I’m so grateful for that. I’m extremely grateful for that because the membership was able to thrive despite the pandemic. I would contribute a lot of that to how I show up as that friend and trusted guide vs pushing a sale.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
While my business has primarily focused on the real estate industry, I have learned so much being a creative, female entrepreneur in the online space that I would love to expand into teaching and empowering other female entrepreneurs who are starting online businesses and want to show up in that “glass of wine with a friend” approach and build a super loyal community. I have a never-ending thirst for knowledge and have invested in my business quite a bit over the years. I would love to package up what I’ve learned in running an online business and be able to help people like me who want to bet on their own success vs relying on climbing a corporate ladder.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
TO STAY IN MY OWN LANE AND TO PRIORITIZE SELF CARE. I had a period of mental burnout this year where I struggled creatively and lacked inspiration. I didn’t feel like myself at all. I said yes to everyone, my screen time was through the roof, and I put my self-care last. I’ve since limited how much time I spend scrolling, I’ve muted accounts that don’t make me feel good and I plan my days the way I want them to run. I say yes when something aligns and I’m not worried about saying no anymore.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I wish I would’ve known to charge what I’m worth and not discount my pricing to match a “competitor.” I relied too much on looking around me vs actually calculating my value (which I have now learned) and realize that because I started out that way, I likely missed those who were the right fit because they wrote it off as just another shiny thing when it’s truly a roadmap, a community and an ongoing marketing campaign all in one.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I have a daily “self-care block”. As entrepreneurs, we seem to time block for everything except our own self-care. Whether it’s reading a book, listening to a podcast, having a slow morning where I enjoy my coffee before opening my email, or having a date night with my husband, there is some kind of self-care built into every single day for me. I also dedicate one day per week (I call it my “CEO day”) to working on my business. It’s the day where I listen to my favorite podcasts, spend time diving into a course I’m taking, map out my content for the next month, plan an upcoming launch, etc. It’s my favorite day of the week and moves the needle the most.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
101%. My father in law’s life motto is “work hard, play hard” and I have fully adapted that into my own work/life balance. I don’t work 24/7. I structure days off into my business. I often think “If I didn’t take those days off, I would be farther ahead!” But I also know that you have to enjoy the life you’re working so hard for or what is the point? Through my “daily self-care”, weekly “CEO day” and prioritizing travel with my husband, I have managed to create a pretty comfortable work/life balance (for the most part)! I believe that if you’re not taking time to just ENJOY life, you aren’t truly living.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I never graduated college and I’m proud of it. For years I thought “just go back and get the 9 credits you have left so you can say you have a degree”. I now so strongly believe in the power of ONLINE education and entrepreneurship that I hope my story inspires someone who has that same drive I did (but can skip all the student loans).
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
I want to show other female entrepreneurs what is possible and that no industry is ever “too saturated”. There’s enough room at the top for all of us and if you can show up like a friend AND an expert, you will succeed at building your own loyal community.