For a country boy who lives nowhere near a major airport, I do a fair amount of traveling. Sometimes, it can be quite the process to get me from my little cowtown in Idaho to a major city for a workshop or conference, but I keep doing it. My state requires 15 hours of Continuing Education (CE) per year. All of that can be taken online. So, why do I travel to so many big cities for education when it is not required? It is not for the CE credits—I can tell you that! Let me give you several reasons why I make the journey:
As appraisers, we spend a lot of time by ourselves. We may see a few people as we are out and about doing our inspections, but most of our time is spent in our caves, in front of our computers, all by our lonesome. Consequently, it is easy to slip into the mode of believing the world is only what we see around us—which admittedly is not much. Getting outside our box and looking around can be an eye opening experience. It has been said that we hardly ever have an original idea. Most of 'our ideas' are simply reconstructing information we obtained from third parties. If you want better ideas, expose yourself to more information.
Attending classes, workshops, and conferences with other appraisers is an amazing way to get out of your box and see what others are doing (and by extension, what you could be doing). I have experienced a fair amount of success as an appraiser, but much of my business model has come from looking at what others are doing and tweaking it to fit my own circumstances. Some of the best education at conferences and classes actually takes place in the showrooms and hallways rather than in the lecture hall.
Naturally, I go for the education, but I am not talking CE here. I typically have all of the CE credits my state will count within the first two months of my renewal. I travel to appraisal gatherings to learn from others. I have been able to expand my horizons a great deal by seeking after learning. Most conferences will vet their speakers. Those on stage usually have something to share that can and will change your business and even your life if you listen. When was the last time you took a class solely for the information and not for the required hours?
There are numerous other opportunities which present themselves at a physical class or conference that you would never get online. For example, when I travel, I nearly always schedule time alone. I turn off my cell phone and close down the internet. This is time for me to work ON my business rather than IN my business. It is much harder to find time to do this at the office, or even at home. It seems like there are always interruptions. I also try to schedule at least one or two meals with experts in the appraisal world. You would be surprised how much information can be shared for just the price of a meal.
Finally, I cannot begin to count the number of new business opportunities that have come my way from simply being in the right place at the right time. Those opportunities cannot come to you if you are not at the place where those opportunities present themselves.
This coming June is the annual Appraisal Buzz Valuation Expo in Las Vegas, NV. If you have not been to the Buzz's Conference in the past, I encourage you to consider coming. They put on a professional show with tons of speakers, a plethora of booths, and a lot of fun. The opportunities to be had at this type of gathering are innumerable.
Not to mention, it's VEGAS Baby!
Now, go create some value!
Dustin Harris is a super-successful, self-employed, residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc., and is a popular author, speaker and consultant. He also owns and operates The Appraiser Coach where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers helping them to also run successful appraisal companies and increase their net worth. He and his wife reside in Idaho.
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