Real estate broker Sharran Srivatsaa became a night owl when his business took off. But his health suffered.
“My doctor said my numbers looked better in the morning and told me, ‘Wake up earlier and you will live longer,’” Srivatsaa says.
That’s exactly what he started doing four years ago—and he got others involved by creating The 5am Club. At 5 a.m. Pacific time, more than 4,000 people get on a conference call to listen to Srivatsaa deliver a 5-minute inspirational message. About 30 percent of the listeners are real estate professionals.
“I’ve sold five companies since coming to the United States with nothing,” says Srivatsaa, former CEO of Teles Properties in Beverly Hills, Calif., and now CEO of Kingston Lane, a real estate lead generation platform. “But nothing I’ve done is as powerful as doing this. The 5am Club is my greatest accomplishment.”
A morning routine can make or break a person’s day. Srivatsaa and other successful real estate professionals reveal their daybreak habits and why their schedules help them improve overall balance in life and strengthen relationships with clients, agents, and family.
Srivatsaa: Waking up to a 4:25 a.m. alarm doesn’t bother him. It allows Srivatsaa enough time to get centered to deliver his 5 a.m. message. He opens up the call line early to hear the followers repeatedly say, “good morning” and “hello” as they sign on. “This is the biggest adrenaline rush for me—that I’m making a difference every day,” he says. After his call, he writes in his journal, exercises, drinks a lot of water, and eats breakfast with his children at 7 a.m. “It’s such a joyful time. I am more patient now. I eat whatever they eat,” says Srivatsaa, who gets about six hours of sleep every night by going to bed at 10 p.m.
Jana Bantz, ABR, CRS: As a person who thrives on consistency, keeping a routine helps Bantz stay calm and ready to face any challenge. Bantz is broker-associate for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Southern Coast Real Estate in Summerville, S.C. When she began her career, Bantz earned Prudential’s Rookie of the Year award. She continues to be in the top rankings for Berkshire Hathaway nationally as a Legends in Real Estate and Platinum Award winner. Bantz usually rises at 6:45 a.m., gets dressed, and eats whole grain cereal and fruit. “Working 80 hours a week leaves little time for exercise,” she says. “I get the office at 9 a.m. Prior to that, my time is devoted to our home and family.” She tackles the smallest tasks early. That sets up a feeling of accomplishment and prepares her mentally to focus on the harder or more stressful items that are part of her schedule. One of her secrets to keep work moving smoothly is having a good, visual flowchart that is kept up-to-date. It’s one of the first things she looks at when she arrives at the office in the morning. “At any given time, we can glance at the board and know what steps are waiting to be accomplished to keep each transaction moving ahead and on time,” she says.
Monica Breckenridge, ABR, CRS: She gets between eight and 10 hours of sleep a night, rising at about 7:30 a.m. The sleep, she says, helped her rank number four in the nation for individual agent transaction sides in Real Trends’ 2017 report, and number one in transaction sides in Colorado since 2012. “I wake up and say, ‘Today is going to be an amazing day,’ and it always is,” says Breckenridge, CEO of Pink Realty in Colorado Springs, who’s also begun franchising her business. To get going in the morning, she eats a healthy breakfast with eggs and fruit or drinks a shake. Then she gets her after-work cycling gear ready to bring to work with her. “I don’t work at all before getting to the office. I won’t answer my phone either if it rings while I’m getting ready. I am not mentally able to work until I am in my work environment and ready to go for the day,” she says. Breckenridge prefers knocking out all the important stuff first along with checking her emails. “I feel completely overwhelmed if I don’t get that taken care of right away.” A saying by Napoleon Hill hangs on her office wall for daily inspiration: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
Amy Wienands: After two decades in the business, Wienands opened her own brokerage, Amy Wienands Real Estate, six years ago in Waterloo, Iowa. Even though her schedule is significantly busier, she continues to walk 3 1/2 miles each morning to help her be the best president and CEO she can at her business. Real Trends ranked her number three in the nation in 2017 for individual transaction sides. During her daily walks—through any kind of weather—Wienands listens to either an inspirational podcast or an audio book on leadership. She also drinks organic celery juice, which she juices herself each morning to help her back issues. “I have 4 1/2-year-old twins. I had to stay active. The celery juice has taken away the inflammation and pain.” She eats breakfast, spends times with her kids, and gets to the office where she drinks a cup of piping hot coffee. Walking through each room to say good morning to her agents and staff has become one of her happy habits.
Ben Caballero: Founder and CEO of HomesUSA.com, Caballero is the first real estate professional to receive recognition by Guinness World Records for his sales record. He became the first and only agent in the United States to exceed the $1 billion mark for residential sales transaction volume in one year. Caballero, of Addison, Texas, wakes up between 5 and 5:30 a.m. each morning with 7 hours of sleep. He then goes to his media room to turn on his Keurig for a cup of coffee. “I watch television switching between news and financial news. While doing that, I’m checking my email and text messages,” he says. His breakfast consists of steel cut oatmeal with dried cranberries, fresh strawberries, blueberries, and a sliced banana. He works out at the gym with a trainer three times a week. “I firmly believe that short of a physical tragedy, every problem has a solution. This belief allows me to define the problem, analyze a situation, and determine the best course of action. I do these carefully but as quickly as possible.”
Jason Farris, e-PRO: He went from being an agent who consistently listed and sold 20 to 30 homes a year to one who closes more than 125 homes a year. He also went being a team leader to CEO of his own brokerage, FresYes Realty in Fresno, Calif., and growing his business from seven to 85 agents. Farris lost 140 pounds in 11 months and parlayed that into co-owning a gym and owning an indoor cycle studio. He gives a lot of the credit to Srivatsaa and the 5am Club for all of his major changes. “I’m at the gym working out at 4:30 a.m. At 5 a.m., there’s a short break to take part in the 5am Club call, and then it’s back to it for another 50 minute workout.” He was actually the 50th member of The 5am Club. “I’ve only missed three times since joining the 5am Club. If I don’t get those morning rituals done, my day will in fact be off, and I won’t be my best self.” He has a protein shake, eggs with bacon, or a spinach and feta wrap from Starbucks for breakfast. His success comes from consistency, habits, and rituals, as well as hydration, fueling his body, and honoring his body, he adds.