Being a real estate agent means being an independent contractor. What that means is that you work for yourself. You rent a space at an office and sometimes pay an additional fee to have some perks like advertising and paperwork done for you by a secretary.
To be a real estate agent, you have to work for a broker who is essentially in charge of you. Lines have an ability to get blurred rather easily.
Here is where the confusion comes into play. You work for your self and state that on your taxes. Even if you don’t work out of the office, there is usually a desk fee for renting space. Meetings are offered at the offices of real estate agents. It is preferrable (read mandatory) for you to attend these meetings. If you do choose to work out of your home, there is a possibility that you will be labelled as someone who isn’t working hard (unless you have been in the business for many years and have already proven yourself time and time again).
Why am I bringing this up? I have seen some people where I work stumble from taking their status as an independent contractor for granted. They seem to think that everyone is on the same page and that they have control over how they run their business.
I have some advice for you if you are just starting out in this business. Go to work. I know you got into the business partially to have a flexible schedule and to compliment your family life. Even so, the way you present yourself the first year in is crucial to the way you will end up working as well as how others will see you.
You might be working on your own, but it still is important to have a good rapport with your colleagues. Making sure to be at the office often will help you get acclimated to your new career. You will pick up advice from others and feel your way through the process at a quicker clip.
As you begin to fall into a routine and business picks up, you will be too busy to think about how often you might be in and out of the office. You will just have too much going on. That’s when your life as an independent contractor will truly begin. In the meantime, make sure that you are available to gather all the knowledge you can. Give yourself the opportunity to be available at work. Take some floor calls when another agent is suddenly too busy to take the call. Be around so that other agents will offer a referral when they are slammed with clients and can’t possibly find room for another at the moment. Believe me, these moments will occur and you will want to be there to take advantage of them.
So instead of focusing on the “independent contractor” designation you have been assigned, give in to the office until you are up on your feet and well on your way.