I am sure you personally know 2 or 3 realtors. The best way to start is to meet each one for lunch or coffee and get their direct advice. It's much better than reading a few responses online.
All the best,
Paragon Real Estate Group DRE 1844627
As others have stated the best way to get started in the business is to find a company where someone is willing to mentor you and bring you along. It is unlikely that you will hit the ground running without some serious training and help.
At our company we work very closely with those we deem worthy of our time and effort to train, slowly handing off tasks and getting in front of clients in small ways and then eventually more and more until they are ready to go on their own, bringing in new agents on deals until they are bringing in their own business, etc.... Although we choose VERY carefully who we add to our team I am always willing to talk with potential new agents to see if there is a good fit.
Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
As has been said you need to align yourself with a brokerage that has good training or mentoring. At first the relationship between you and your manager or mentor will be all important. The introduction into the community of Realtors is more important than many realize. As my mentor said "you will work with most clients once, maybe twice. You will work with the other agents over and over again".
When interviewing brokers, be sure you ask about a mentoring program, and evaluate who pays for it, as well as who pays for the training they offer. Some brokerages run a bit of a numbers game, while others really select agents they want to invest in -- you want the latter! What marketing resources are available to you? Administrative support? Also, consider the content of the training. Unless you have a strong sales and relationship marketing background, be sure you get training in those areas as well. In today's market, these skills are critical.
Keller's books are great, but they might be a bit dense for someone just starting out. Read at least three books that are targeted to new agents. Place your order on Amazon if you like, but not until you go to Stacey's (on Market near New Montgomery) and thumb through their excellent selection of real estate books.
Also, unless you're one of those amazingly self-motivated people (and hats off to you if you are!), I think a coach is a great idea. It may seem expensive at first, but it's an investment in your career and life that pays back in focus, motivation, and achievement. At a minimum, find a peer accountability partner.
I'd be very happy to take you to coffee and talk to you about my experiences. Feel free to contact me.
A bit of advice - read Gary Keller's book "Millionaire Real Estate Agent". He has done the best work of survaying all the best agents in the country and written a book that distills the best practices into one good referance book. With out doing a full synopsis of the book the first part, up to hiring an assistant is going to be the most pertinent to your situation.
If you want additional feed back on the brokerages in SF I'd be glad to share my opinion.