Photograph by David Johnson

June 24 marked my 9th year owning a brokerage firm in New York City, and in those years, I’ve learned a lot. Here are just a few things I wish someone had told me nearly a decade ago.

Get office space as soon as you can.

And if you can do it in a shared office environment, even better. This will help you save on expenses and give you a pool of prospects. If you’re in sales, you feed off of being around people. If you work from home too much, a part of you will slowly dry up and die.

Never say “I’m sorry.” say “I apologize.”

When you or an employee screws up—and you will—using the word “apologize” has a greater impact. Instead of admitting you or your staff did something wrong, simply apologize for the situation.

Don’t take UNSCHEDULED phone calls.

I started doing this about 3 years ago and I’m amazed at how much more productive I am. When you answer the phone it takes away your focus for what you are doing for someone else, and then you’ll never get out of the office. It also elevates you to instant rock star status if people know they can only talk to you if they schedule first with your assistant.

Employees will do things differently than you.

Let them be different. I tell my employees all the time: There are a million ways to get from A to B. I don’t care how you get to B; just get to B. It allows them to work in a process that makes more sense to them.

‘Saturday, in the park…”

Only respond to clients on a Saturday. Don’t respond on a Sunday. You are entitled to have your own life. Use your personal time; it sets up important boundaries that you deserve to have.