We love getting to know parents in our community. In our Home Work series, I ask moms and dads how they juggle their work while raising kids, hoping to get some insight on how to better balance our own work/playtime while being introduced to our neighbors and their cool businesses.Â Today we meet Leslie Kellogg, a Realtor with Residential Properties in Providence. She focuses on the East Side (where she lives), Rumford, Barrington and East Greenwich and partners w/ agents in other territories to help buyers and sellers throughout Rhode Island and South Eastern Massachusetts.
Kidoinfo: What inspired you to start your business?
Leslie: I was looking for something that would allow me to work part time while raising the kids. My husband, Tom, and I had moved 3 times in five years, including a corporate relocation to New Jersey. Tom said he thought I would be a great agent.
Kidoinfo: How did you start your business?
Leslie: Once I completed the licensing class, I realized that I was pregnant! I had 2 boys at home — 9 months and two years old. However, I was determined to go forward with my plans. When I went in for my interview I asked if I could be an assistant or if I should come back in two years. I highly doubted anyone would hire a pregnant mother of two! Luckily, the manager thought I would do well over time, so she took a chance on me. I took phone duty at the office and I hosted many open houses. My sister was moving — so her house was my first listing. It all built from there.
Kidoinfo: How do you balance work and family?
Leslie: Real estate is flexible in terms of hours but it is hard to plan for. It’s like being on call. A buyer may call and want to submit an offer right away. This was tough when the kids were young. My schedule is different every week and I wouldn’t always have a sitter booked when someone wanted to see a house. I often dropped the kids off with their dad at his office. Now that my kids are old enough to be home alone — it is easier to dash off to meet a client or handle a last minute showing. I book 3 solid weekdays where I go in to the office to handle details of deals, scheduled meetings with clients, show houses. I usually book one or two open houses a weekend. I still work on the remaining days —but it tends to be responding to client emails/phone calls or handling a showing. Life with 3 kids a job, a husband and a dog is hectic. Tom and I juggle a lot of the kids activities. We try to carve out time during the week to hang out and catch up w/ each other. It isn’t always easy.
I realize that I am a better mom and agent if I block times for family vs. business. When I am at home w/ the kids in the afternoons I will let calls that aren’t urgent go to voice mail and respond when I can give my full attention. I also focus on a few clients at a time which results in a better experience for the client and a less frazzled wife and mother.
The best part of this business is that I can make my own hours. I am able to attend the kid’s school events and games. Today, I am working from home because my son has a bad cold.
Kidoinfo: Please describe a typical day.
Leslie: I am up by 6 — so I can be alone for 45 minutes and ease into the day. I have a cup of coffee, make my to do list and read the paper. I get the kids up and off to the bus by 7:30. I workout — either running or an intense cardio class- 3-4 mornings. Then I get to work, either at home or at the office. I get back around 3 when the kids get home. I supervise homework, make dinner and shuttle kids to hockey, tap etc. After they go to bed, I respond to emails, tie up loose ends. Then I am in bed with a book by 10.
Kidoinfo: Do you have any time-saving tricks that you could share?
Leslie: Peapod. This online grocery service was a lifesaver when the kids were small and couldn’t be left at home. I used to schedule delivery while I was working. The sitter would have it all put away by the time I got home.
Kidoinfo: What is your favorite children’s book or music CD?
Leslie: I adore any cd by Bill Harley — RI’s Grammy winning storyteller/songwriter. I loved reading the Kate DiCamillo books aloud — especially The Amazing Journey of Edward Tulane.
Kidoinfo: What is the last great non-kid book or film that you loved? What made it so great?
Leslie: I am reading Freedom by Jonothan Franzen. I can’t put it down! It amazes me how he crafts his characters and reveals their pyches, motivations etc. They are complex and their narratives weave together to tell a compelling story.
Kidoinfo: Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Leslie: Oprah —especially this final season with winners like the cast of The Sound of Music, Debbie Boone singing “You Light Up My Life” and Teen Heartbeats — Shaun Cassidy and Peter Frampton — it doesn’t get any better than that! Also, People magazine…
Kidoinfo: How has the experience and on the job training of being a mom/dad prepared or changed you in business?
Leslie: It is a symbiotic relationship. Everything I learn as a parent about schools, sports, pediatricians, local issues etc makes me a better resource for my clients. I know what it is like to move when you have little kids. I know how crazy it can be to fix up a house — both do it yourself projects and major renovations – with kids under foot. I know whom to call to get repairs done. Lastly, I know how important it is to find the right community and the right school for your kids.
Kidoinfo: What is next for you and your business?
Leslie: To celebrate my 10th year in Real Estate, I am supporting education by donating a portion of each sale to the local PTA of the client’s choice.
I am focusing more on technology and the way it continually changes the real estate business.