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Michelle Hopson poses with two of her nurses on her last day of chemotherapy.

All Realtors are independent contractors, living off the commissions they earn on the homes they buy and sell for their clients. If they’re not getting results, they’re not getting money. So you could reasonably assume that a cancer diagnosis would negatively affect a Realtor’s bottom line.

That was Michelle Hopson’s assumption last January, when she found out she had breast cancer.

“You think you’re going to die, at first,” said Michelle, an agent in Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate's Highland Park office. “Then you just think you’re going to be miserable, and life is going to be really rough for a period of time.”

Incredibly, Michelle’s bottom line improved markedly in 2014. Despite eight rounds of chemotherapy and multiple surgeries, she’s on pace to double her volume from last year.

Michelle attributes her success to two major influences: her doctor and her coach.

Dr. Arthur Frankel, an oncologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, had specific instructions regarding attitude: Get up every day and get to work. Carry on with life. Don’t let the cancer or its treatments affect you.

“When you come to chemo, I want you dressed,” Michelle remembers him saying. “I want you looking good. Do not come down here in your pajamas. Don’t come here in your sweats.”

Michelle followed his instructions during her biweekly chemotherapy sessions, which began in April and ended in July. She would trot in wearing high heels and often hobble out due to the therapy’s effects.

“It sounded so ridiculous,” she said, “but it turned out to be the best thing for me, because I really just kept going and working. In July, my coach and I realized there was a possibility I could actually hit my goals that we set.”

Her coach is Doug Komlenic, whom she met through Brian Buffini’s One2One Coaching program. Buffini’s system is based on building business through referrals, and coaches help motivate agents to reach their financial goals.

“In a lot of ways, the repetition of all the calls, notes, and pop-bys that you have to do was great, because it kept me distracted and motivated,” Michelle said. “It kept me going, and I didn’t think about what I was going through as much.”

Also key to Michelle’s success were her family and her clients. Her husband, Robert, and her daughter, Sarah, both hold jobs that provided enough flexibility for them to serve as Michelle’s driver/assistant when needed. Meanwhile, her clients knew what she was going through and were very accommodating.

“I would have days where I’d say, ‘OK, if you ask me for something, and I don’t send it to you within 30 minutes, call me again, because chemo completely jacks with your brain,’” Michelle said. “There were days I couldn’t remember what I had for lunch, much less what was on my to-do list.”

With an eventful but successful 2014 winding down, Michelle is thankful for her health, personally and professionally. But she’s not resting on her laurels.

“I hope next year’s even better!” she said.

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