Shift Your Mindset: One Agent’s Journey From Financial Ruin to Recovery

Ada Ciuca| September 30, 2020

Throughout her 28-year career in real estate, Keller Williams agent Karin Hamilton has not had an easy run, but 2007 brought along a particularly difficult set of challenges.

“At the time, there was a trifecta of events that caught me in a difficult financial situation,” Hamilton says. “I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had surgery and chemo. I became a divorced mom of four. We had the banking crisis and the real estate crash. My finances and career were thrown off.” Hearing Hamilton speak today, those events feel like a different lifetime.

Between a turbulent entry into the real estate industry and the slew of significant life challenges experienced, Hamilton has shed her circumstances by embracing a few life-changing mindset shifts. Here, she shares the changes that moved the needle on her career, helped pull her out of financial ruin, and achieve her production goals – all starting with the unwavering support of her Keller Williams market center.

Ready to Start Your Own Real Estate Journey?

Keller Williams has partnered with Kaplan Real Estate Education to make entering a career in real estate affordable and accessible with the Keller Williams School of Real Estate (KSCORE). With prelicensing education provided by Kaplan Real Estate Education through the KSCORE training program, aspiring real estate agents no longer have to worry about the financial constraints or confinement of a physical classroom**.

Just Show Up

Hamilton’s real estate journey has been everything but linear. She started out selling, moved into an assistant role (and joined Keller Williams alongside that agent), and was encouraged by her market center, particularly her operating principal Nate Dickey, to inch back into a selling role. As she was struggling to make ends meet and get her business off the ground, one moment changed her life and outlook.

“I headed to my car for a showing, and walking through the parking lot, I realized my car wasn’t where I left it,” she recounts. “I felt sick to my stomach at first, and then a flush of incredible embarrassment – my car had been repossessed out of the office parking lot.” This moment was pivotal for Hamilton. “I thought to myself, this is my bottom. I realized I was just sailing through my career without treating it like a business.” 

This experience led Hamilton to join an expansion team housed under her market center. The team’s systems prioritized lead generation, tracking numbers, nurturing your database, and building out your sphere of influence – all the essentials for growing a real estate business that Hamilton had neglected over the years. “That one thing changed the trajectory of my career forever. I realized you have to show up, participate, embody everything that is offered, and the rest will fall into place.” That realization, she says, “is simple, but not easy.” 

Lean Into Coaching

After joining the expansion team and adopting KW’s models and systems, Hamilton found success from a production standpoint, but she was still having trouble believing in herself. Because of that, she tapped into her market center’s coaching offerings, and describes her productivity coach as a key figure in her mindset change. 

“I realized I had a lot of emotional baggage that I needed to get past in order to free myself fully and concentrate on my career,” she shares. “I shared these feelings with my productivity coach, and he said, ‘What if you just put it down, walk away, and leave it behind?’ And at that moment, I had an epiphany. I let go of my emotional baggage, failures, fears, and allowed myself to feel not only worthy, but capable of achieving whatever I wanted to.” 

Coaching is a powerful tool that can guide you to focus on solutions and gain awareness of your strengths and areas for development. Joining a coaching program, such as KW MAPS Coaching, can help transform your business and life, and provide newfound perspectives similar to Hamilton’s epiphany.

Related reading: KW Coaching Corner: How to Stay Determined and Dedicated to Your Long-Term Vision

Build a Schedule That Suits Your Needs

After mastering the systems and processes necessary for building a successful business and adopting a perspective in which she viewed success as having the freedom to choose the life she wants for herself, Hamilton soared. “In two years, I went from having my car repossessed out of the parking lot to doing $7M in volume,” she says. “I no longer felt like life was happening to me. I wasn’t spending my days reacting to one problem or another, but I was choosing how my day would be laid out.” 

Today, Hamilton follows a put-together routine that allows her to prioritize herself, her business, and her father, to whom she is a caregiver: 

> 5 a.m. wake-up 
> 6 – 7:30 a.m. gym
> 7:30 a.m. arrives home, prepares breakfast for her father and looks over the day’s schedule
> 8 – 8:30 a.m. arrives at the office and tunes into her market center’s a.m. Zoom call
> 8:30 – 9 a.m. prepares for lead gen activities
> 9 – 11 a.m. makes calls and follow-ups 

After lunch, she is generally on appointments. If there are none, Hamilton will spend the rest of her day tuning into trainings or other educational materials until dinnertime. After dinner, she enters any contacts from the day into her database and logs off around 8 p.m. 

Ultimately, the most impressive aspect of Hamilton’s journey is not what she was able to overcome, but the humility that follows her to this day. “I don’t see myself as special,” she says. “Throughout my career, my biggest roadblock was not believing in myself. You just have to understand yourself and what you’re capable of doing. Once I got there, the clarity was amazing.” 

At Keller Williams, agents can soar further, faster, by leveraging training and coaching that inspires action. Find out more below. 

Join Keller Williams

**Keller Williams Realty, Inc., has an agreement with Kaplan Real Estate Education to promote online course information to consumers and real estate licensees. KSCORE, Keller Williams School of Real Estate, KW School of Real Estate, KW Prep, Keller Williams Realty, Inc., and Keller Williams market centers and franchisees (collectively “KW”) are not the developers of these prelicensing (PL) and continuing education (CE) courses; they are simply providing a referral. This program does not apply in Minnesota, New York, and elsewhere prohibited. PL and CE instruction will be provided by Kaplan Real Estate Education, a state-approved education provider (PL approved in: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IA, IL, KY, MI, MO, NC, NM, NV, PA, SC, TN, TX (TREC Provider #4546), VA, WA, WI; CE approved in: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IA, IL, KY, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NM, NV, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX (TREC Provider #31), VA, WA, WI). KW offers nonvocational training to help individuals become better real estate agents. KW is not an approved provider of state real estate PL or CE. Any questions regarding PL and CE course content or technology should be directed to Kaplan Real Estate Education.

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  • Andre Coles says:

    I can totally relate to this story. The ups and downs of life can throw some off to put it mildly but those of us who love life persevere because we know it’s worth the fight.
    Thanks for sharing this inspirational experience.

    • Ada Ciuca says:

      Hi Andre! Thank you so much for commenting. Karin’s experience is absolutely inspirational and we’re glad you took the time to read through. For more inspirational success stories, check out this tag:

      KW Success Stories

  • Mary Byrd says:

    Wow and congratulations on your success so far…. If I didn’t read your name…. This is so my story and I am still trying to figure out my path and working on changing my mindset with new eye.
    Thank you for sharing!

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