Hello SOTGC community,
After graduating from the University of San Diego, I spent almost ten years in corporate America before stepping out on my own. Prior to founding San Diego Office Properties I worked for two International Commercial Real Estate Firms and held a variety of positions, both salaried and fully commissioned.
In 2011, the brokerage house that I worked for as a commercial real estate broker changed management. I realized quickly that I was not in alignment with the new managers’ philosophies and worse yet – I was being micromanaged. If I would have been a salaried or hourly employee receiving regular compensation for my time I may have had more patience for this, but because I was fully commissioned and responsible for generating my own income I felt strongly that I should be allowed to source and service business my way. “My way” was to focus on the relationship rather than the transaction. I didn’t feel as though I received much support from the firm and often wondered why I was giving them half of my commissions. I began to dread going to work each day and sought the advice of two senior mentors, both of whom insisted it was time to make a change.
Aside from those who serve in a support role, it is rare to come across a female in the commercial real estate brokerage community. While brokers occasionally shuffle around between the big name brokerage houses, it is incredibly rare for one to quit and start a “competitive” business. Most of my industry probably thought I was out of my mind, but having the courage to be one of the firsts also allowed me to differentiate myself.
I had always dreamed of opening my own business but figured that was something I’d do later in life rather than at the age of 30. If I would not have been so miserable dealing with office politics, I probably would have waited to pursue my dream, but I’m glad I was pushed out of my comfort zone and took a leap of faith. My nerves got the best of me for a few months and I didn’t eat or sleep much. After a few months I settled in and realized that my clients were loyal to ME – not the logo on my business card.
My family and friends served as an amazing support network. They believed in me even when I began to doubt myself. During my first year in business I grossly surpassed my revenue expectations but I had little or no free time and I became consumed by my business. I realized that in order to grow I would need additional support and I began to build a team. I have yet to meet an entrepreneur that has not gone through a period where they have been consumed by their business for a period of time, but I strongly encourage entrepreneurs to be cognizant of this and strive to achieve a healthier work-life balance as soon as possible. After existing independently for nearly two years I can’t say that I haven’t had my fair share of challenges and stumbling blocks, but I also can’t say that I have had any regrets either. I have learned a lot and continue to learn everyday and I try to share my knowledge with my clients and colleagues. For me, the benefits of entrepreneurism have far out-weighed the drawbacks.
Photo credit: tech.co