I must admit, I entered the real estate industry in 2003 with lots and lots of apprehension. I, like many who first start, had one foot in the door and the other out.
It took me quite some time before I was “all-in”. At the time, I was 38 years of age and heavily invested in the hospitality industry and to make a career change into the world of real estate was a huge mental shift.
To paint the picture, I went straight into business ownership with my wife Maria who had just over one year of real estate sales experience. It was a dream of hers to build her own business, and when an unexpected opportunity arose, she jumped at it and I, reluctantly, of course, went along for the ride. It was a baptism of fire but also an absolute sliding-door moment.
In the beginning, I was a fish out of water and questioning my ability to not only get good at the craft of running a successful real estate practice but understanding and appreciating the magnitude of the opportunity that I was presented with. Over time, however, that appreciation very much grew. The more experience we gained, the more we developed our skills, the more we mastered our ability to engage with buyers, sellers and building relationships; the more I believed that our vision for our future was overwhelmingly exciting.
When I first heard the phrase you “can write your own paycheck” in real estate, I took the comment with a grain of salt. To me, the phrase was more of a sales pitch to help “motivate” and/or reflect on an agent’s “lack of commitment”; the latter, of course, in a roundabout way saying you are not doing enough. When you think about it, it is a profound statement. Many can take it either way; however, the longer you are in the industry, the more you can recognise the relative truth in the saying. Real estate is one of those unique industries that one can formulate a blueprint, follow and execute that blueprint and achieve just about any goal they desire. Those who believe and apply the fundamentals can see their vision of the future play out.
I use the analogy of a road trip to best describe the real estate journey. You set out on a predetermined adventure, not knowing what you will encounter, with lots of stops along the way, being prepared for the unexpected breakdowns, changing directions and “upgrading” your motor home from time to time. The journey is and should be as exciting as the destination.
Today, almost 18 years later, our business has sold over 20,000 properties and has an amazing team of over 300 dedicated professionals. It has been an amazing journey by any standards and yet I still feel we have only just started with much bigger goals to achieve. I reminisce on those early days and think back to what advice I would give my younger, inexperienced and fearful self. What words of encouragement could I offer a young entrant into this industry, to help paint a picture and excite them for their future, of what is truly possible?
In summary, it is this. I would tell my younger self to “learn the rules of the game”. To recognise that real estate is 80 per cent an inside job and 20 per cent execution. To go “all-in” and continually invest in your personal brand. Commit to building “You Inc” because it is the most valuable real estate on the planet, and when you execute on that vision, the future is extremely exciting.
Manos Findikakis is CEO and co-founder of the Eview Group.