3 Pillars Of Creating A Sustainable And Rewarding Real Estate Business

3 Pillars Of Creating A Sustainable And Rewarding Real Estate Business

You apply discipline to starting and growing your business, but how do you apply that same discipline to making it sustainable? Broker Pam Blair offers guidance for making your real estate business more meaningful and satisfying.

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When I branded my business as YogaBug Real Estate in 2011, I was clear on two things: My brand needed to ooze authenticity, and I wanted to create a “sustainable business.”


Having just barely survived the Great Recession, I knew that to stay motivated moving forward, I needed a business model that transcended dollars and numbers and could sustain me through the often-tumultuous waters of real estate. I needed a path for defining success that was as burnout-proof as possible.

How do you create a sustainable business?

To me, a sustainable business is one that lights my fire and supports me holistically on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level despite outward circumstances.

I discovered that there are three pillars to a sustainable business.


In a business world that emphasizes self-reliance and individual success, the power of service can be overlooked. It turns out that a service-focused lifestyle is good for our overall health and can be preventative medicine warding off disillusionment and burnout.

Studies show that serving others is not only altruistic but it promotes a stronger sense of purpose and meaning in life supporting our emotional and psychological well-being. There is also scientific evidence that service boosts our physical health on several levels including:

1. Reduced stress levels

Embracing a life of service impacts our stress hormone levels. Cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone, sees decreased rates when individuals engage in acts of kindness and service. Scientific studies have consistently shown that altruistic behaviors contribute to a significant reduction in stress levels, promoting a healthier mental and physical state.

2. Increased ‘feel good’ hormone levels

Acts of service increase the release of the “feel good” hormone oxytocin in our system, fostering a sense of connection and well-being and contributing to overall happiness and satisfaction.

3. Decreased rates of disease and increased longevity

Scientific evidence underscores the idea that a life dedicated to serving others contributes to a robust immune system and overall resilience against certain diseases. It has been shown that individuals who consistently engage in acts of service tend to live longer, healthier lives.


Structuring our business so that we receive tangible, meaningful, consistent rewards is imperative to staying motivated and focused. According to the self-determination theory, individuals have intrinsic motivation when they genuinely enjoy the activity they are pursuing, derive pleasure and fun from it and feel that it is interesting and congruent with their goals and identity.

For reward to be consistent, it needs to come in a variety of forms, including financial stability and motivational joy.

Financial stability

Financial stability is a basic need and financial reward can be a powerful motivator. Being clear on your financial needs and creating a business plan to achieve those goals is key to a sustainable business.

Motivational joy

Since financial reward in real estate can ebb and flow, it is important to be rewarded with a healthy dose of “joy” from our business every day and ideally multiple times a day. Taking time to define what brings us joy and weaving that into our business is a powerful motivator.

My choice to weave the worlds of yoga and real estate together has made my business sustainable. Going to a yoga class is a form of prospecting for me. Not only do I benefit physically, emotionally and mentally from the yoga class, but I interact with past and future real estate clients, often talking about real estate simply by showing up and taking care of myself.


“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” — Anne Lamott

Real estate is a culture of continuous hustle where our well-being is often measured by our level of busyness. This is an unsustainable practice. Valuing self-care as much as busyness is essential to prevent burnout and promote longevity in our business. Self-care must be part of our business plan on a daily and yearly basis.

Daily self-care practices

Time-blocking daily self-care practices is smart business. This might take the form of scheduling regular breaks throughout the day, drinking more water, spending time with family or friends or taking a walk. Make appointments with yourself and treat them with the same importance as meeting with a client.

Annual self-care goals

Placing the same level of importance on scheduled time off during yearly business planning as work-related goals creates a known reward system and establishes life-work balance as a priority, creating a sustainable path moving forward. Be specific about the details of time off and, if possible, make reservations and buy plane tickets in January so that you follow through with your commitment.

Self-care improves our attitude, promotes greater levels of concentration and efficiency and when we feel good that is reflected in all that we do.

We cannot control many of the outward circumstances of the world of real estate, but we can define how we will be prepared and therefore respond to the ebbs and flows moving forward.

Creating a sustainable business requires thoughtful consideration, discipline and dedication. Once we define what lights our fire and set practices in place that keep us healthy and motivated despite outward circumstances, the rewards will be endless. 

Pam Blair is the broker-owner of YogaBug Real Estate in Portland, Oregon. Connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn.

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