I've been an agent for just over 7 years, and I've worked with 3 different brokerages in Chicago (MetroPro Realty in Hyde Park, Sudler Sotheby's International Realty- which no longer exists as such, and Keller Williams Realty- my current brokerage).
First I'd suggest doing as much investigation as possible before you make any changes in your brokerage firm. I know that you've ben in the business for a short time, but I'd still suggest reading "Your successful real estate career" by Kenneth Edwards. It's a great career overview book for new agents or people considering getting into the business.
Another book that I'd suggest taking a look at is "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller (who started Keller Williams Realty). It's more of a nuts and bolts how to book about how to conduct your real estate business to be successful.
I'd also suggest that if at all possible when you make your next move if you change brokerages- try desperately to identify a company that you think that you'd like to work with for the long term. I say this because in my experience once you've established even a small "book of business" having to move that to a new firm is potentially disruptive to your business. It just takes some time to get all of your ducks in a row, and that disruption can lead to lost opportunities due to the inefficiencies inherent in changing firms.
Mike makes a great point about identifying the successful agents in the areas (geographic areas and real estate practice areas- REO, leasing, condo sales, etcetera) where you want to work. They are likely a great source of information and training, but they also tend to offer lower commission splits to agents who don't have any business of their own.
The other consideration when partnering with someone with existing business is whether or not you "fit" with that individual. I've met a good number of agents who are pretty successful whose business practices I would never want to emulate.
I'm not a recruiter for Keller Williams Realty, but I do want to make a mini-pitch for my own brokerage/company/franchise. I am very happy with this brokerage and excited to have ended up here. Knowing what I know now after 7 years in the business I can truly say that I wish I'd started my career here. I KNOW that my business would be in a totally different and even more successful place right now.
The reason that I'm so gung ho about Keller Williams Realty is that they subscribe to the philosophy that they are actually an education and training company disguised as a real estate company. I've never seen a real estate brokerage franchise or local office more committed to consistently providing training opportunities for its agents. When I last changed firms I investigated about 5 different brokerage offices representing 3 different franchises and local brokerages, and given my previous experiences in the business I really did think (and still do) that Keller Williams Realty simply offered the best and most easily replicable programs for success.
If you're interested in Keller Williams Realty, you can just call any of the local offices and ask to speak with the Team Leader there (unless you already know a Keller Williams agent who can introduce you). The Team Leaders are the folks who are there to recruit agents, and they can typically answer any and all questions that you might have more completely than regular agents and brokers like myself. They can also typically provide you with a free copy of The Millionaire Real Estate Agent if you don't want to go out and buy one or check one out of the library.
Good luck to you and if you'd like to speak with me further about this I'd be happy to grab a coffee or lunch with you sometime.
Broker Associate, Keller Williams Realty Chicago Consulting Group
716 E. 47th St. Chicago, IL 60653
(773) 418-0640 (cell) (312) 577-0985 (fax)