I am in my 2nd year and learn something new everyday.
Full time, dedicated Real Estate Professionals will tell you that there is no time-clock for the ones who take it seriously; especially when you are new to the industry. You have to be prepared to up and go at any given time and that was a struggle during my first year because I have 2 elementary students and a husband who works 2nd shift. I did the best I could and then put my oldest into a babysitting course; that was the only way I could assure myself that I was covering the bases that could make or break my success.
I don't feel it takes a great deal of money to get started; a good reputation and a gift for gab can do wonders for a new agent. If you have a fear of striking up conversations with complete strangers ... use your friends and family members (if they know the people you want to meet), it's okay to let someone else do the introductions but you need to be prepared to take it from there. Over time you will get more comfortable and begin striking up those conversations on your own without any mediation. Oh and don't be embarassed if you make a mistake and don't apologize for them; every single agent was new at one time!
Get involved with local organizations; for me I focus on giving!
Pumpkins for Halloween, Toys For Tots for Christmas etc..., be creative, talk about your career (you love it right?) and keep a Rookie Journal. If you live in an area that is not doing well you should view it as a chance to get your feet wet = when it picks back up you will be confident to jump in!
I could go on-and-on but hope this helps with your decision.
The odds in this business are always slim for true success That does not mean you should not pursue it. But, you should look into gaining a true understanding of what the work week of a full time dedciated agent entails and determine if you are willing to chart that course. Most people grossly underestimate the time, energey and monetary commitments, while grossly overestimating the income.
Again, it does not mean you should not pursue it. Go meet a handful of brokers in thier offices and gain some insight into the buisness and your local market. It could be this is a perfect fit for you.