- Take a hint from these innovative professionals who took the leap into business ownership with blood, sweat and style.
NEW YORK — At Inman Connect New York, moderator Joe Rand talked to three stand-out brokers to find out what makes them tick.
If you’re ready to break stuffy and boring with a sledgehammer, take a hint from these innovative professionals who took the leap into business ownership with blood, sweat and style.
Kenyatta Jones-Arietta, R2M (Ready to Move) Realty
Reason for starting own brokerage: After getting her associate brokers license and pursuing a couple of other paths that fell through (including a franchise bill ) the signs led her to found R2M two years ago.
Based out of: Rockland County, New York
Background: Keller Williams and Re/Max
Distinguishing characteristic: She got her IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness) pro card in under two years.
“The dedication that went into accomplishing that showed me that if you put your mind to anything, you can do it. That’s what I presented to my clients moving forward. The commitment and dedication I put into myself is the commitment and dedication I’m going to put into selling your home.”
Also — the idea for her company name (R2M — Ready to Move) and logo resembling an equation came to her while she was driving. She stopped and made a quick sketch, which ended up being the inspiration for the final version. Fun fact: her office is big on chalkboards.
Pro tip for other brokers: Be careful mixing business with your personal life. It can work, but it doesn’t always work. “The biggest mistake that I made … was I had hired one of my best friends. And that’s the person that burned me. And after being burned by your best friend, everything else doesn’t even matter.”
Peter Lorimer, PLG Estates
Reason for starting own brokerage: Lorimer’s plan all along was to get his license, join a big firm and then start his own. This was propelled further when he found a market niche — in clientele, not geography.
Who are his clients? People in entertainment who are off the beaten path. In his words, “actors, crazies, creatives.”
Based out of: Los Angeles
Background: The music business
Distinguishing characteristic: Described as “if you’re in the music/entertainment/creative business — go with these guys.”
“When I joined real estate, I was consumed and suffocated by an ocean of toxic vanilla.”
“I just couldn’t handle it. It was like, ‘you know what? I don’t want to work with everybody. I want to work with people that I vibe with.’ So I made a big social media effort to go hard after that crowd.”
Pro tip for other brokers: Two words to becoming a real estate tech ninja: “You(freaking)Tube.” All the tutorials you’ll ever need in one place. (Lorimer looks at all the real estate tech that comes out every single week and watches instructional videos on YouTube. He then tests the best ones at the company. How many stick? About one in 10.)
Todd Narlinger, Madison and Company
Reason for starting own brokerage: Opportunity presented itself — in 2008 (he admits it was “great timing”).
“My business partner came to me and said, ‘hey, I found a little office for us to potentially work our urban development company out of while you stay at Re/Max.'” He says it was somewhat planned but perhaps not planned enough — and he’s learned a lot over the last seven years. His goal is to become the No. 1 independent firm in Denver. (Right now, Madison and Co. is No. 5, he said.)
Based out of: Denver
Background: Started at Re/Max with his father in 1995
Distinguishing characteristic: Narlinger puts a lot of emphasis on having a great team at his business, playing to people’s strengths and hiring the best agents. “I am 100-percent entrepreneur, but I am not a manager and I am not a technician,” he said, referring to personas laid out in The E-Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About it. “It’s all about team.”
Pro tip for other brokers: If you have the best Realtors, it’s easy to relinquish control. “Be the best, not the most,” he said. Also — make more phone calls rather than relying on automated tech.