Nicole Nicolay, co-founder of Effektive Solutions, a real estate technology and marketing company, was raised in a family of Realtors. She got her start in the real estate industry as a receptionist for a San Francisco Bay Area real estate brokerage company, where her father served as managing broker.

Nicolay also is a contributor to MyTechOpinion, a real estate technology blog.

She will speak at Real Estate Connect in San Francisco, July 23-25, 2008.

Nicolay answered a set of questions posed by Inman News:

What do you see happening in the real estate market in 2008?

The need for agents to become more organized and craft a well-developed marketing plan to gain exposure for themselves and their listings.

What advice do you have to help real estate agents and brokers get through this market?

FOCUS! Decide on your marketing strategies and stick to them! And if you are not marketing yourself and your listings online, you’re missing the boat!

What was your first job?

Front-desk receptionist for a real estate brokerage in the Bay Area (my dad was also the managing broker).

What sparked the idea to start your company?

I noticed how hard my parents were working in their own real estate business and as a former teacher I had the innate desire to help! I also just had my first baby and wanted more control over my professional career.

What’s been your biggest challenge in running the business?

Working with others and time management. I have an "A"-type personality and I have to sit back and be a better listener at times. Also, I struggle at balancing my time with work and family.

If you had one thing to do over again in your life, what would it be?

I would have bought a particular home that seemed like too much financially (at the time), but clearly I could have purchased it (and it would have been a forever house) if I was more daring. But I tend to play it safe when it comes to home purchases.

What style of home do you live in and when did you buy it?

A single-family home built by Northbrook that I purchased in December 2004.

What worries keep you awake at night?

I have a 2-year-old and 4-year-old — they keep me awake at night. Otherwise, I’m exhausted and sleep just fine.

What lesson did you learn in the last year?

You have to be EXTREMELY organized and have a plan when growing a small business. And it’s OK to hire others to be the doers so that you can focus on new ideas and strategies.

What would your second career choice be?

Actress (aka "waitress").

What kind of music do you listen to?

Mostly everything but country, from the Beastie Boys to The Beatles. (Lil Jon, Gwen Stefani, No Doubt, Pennywise, The Sounds, My Chemical Romance, Murphy Lee, Good Charlotte, Rage Against the Machine, Beyonce, Sublime, Jane’s Addiction, Hole, Lenny Kravitz, Ying Yang Twins, the list goes on and on).

Who is your hero?

My mom: She is an amazing mom, Nonna, and rockin’ real estate broker in the East Bay! (But I am reading "Blogging Heroes" right now so that may change by the time I get to the end of the book.)


What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor.

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