Paula Pant is the founder of Afford Anything, a website and podcast which covers entrepreneurship, real estate investing and personal finance. She's quoted as a finance expert in Forbes, Fortune, Kiplinger, Lifehacker, Mashable, NPR, Yahoo! Finance, AOL DailyFinance, AOL Real Estate, The Globe and Mail, Business Insider, Inc. Magazine, AssetBuilder, Wisebread, The Huffington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Desert Daily News, The Simple Dollar and Get Rich Slowly. She's written about personal finance for MSN Money, AARP Bulletin, Motley Fool, Bankrate, Hotpads, Trulia, and The Huffington Post. She is the About.com Expert in Budgeting & Personal Finance. She speaks at conferences nationwide about financial independence, passive income, entrepreneurship, saving, earning and investing.
I'm a licensed real estate agent and multifamily unit rental property investor in Georgia, as well as an internet entrepreneur. You're correct; you must hold a real estate license to collect a referral fee. However, this isn't the only way to monetize your website. You could select from a wide variety of monetization methods, such as CPM or CPC advertising, charge a flat fee per listing, or use the site as a lead generator for webinars, seminars or premium material. In short, there are many ways to create revenue streams from your site that go beyond simply collecting a referral fee. (Bear in mind also that referral fees on rentals work differently than referral fees on buy/sell arrangements). If you'd like to discuss these ideas in greater detail, I'd be happy to speak with you by phone. Thanks!
Many people will answer this question by describing how much they disliked their job, and wanted to be their own boss. I have a different take: I enjoyed my job, but I wanted to notch up to the next level. I wanted freedom to set my own schedule, get rid of the gatekeepers and have no upper limit to my income. I also started building this business during the evenings and weekends, testing the idea, before I left my position. That gave me both the funds and the proof-of-concept that I needed.