I have been a Boulder resident for nearly 30 years and started my real estate business in 2002. I’ve had many inspirations along the way; here is a glimpse into my path.
How I Got My Start
I stepped into the real estate industry in 2002. It was a strange time to enter the industry, as the internet boom was just beginning to impact how business was conducted. In the early 2000s, many Boulder brokers were reluctant to adapt to technology (such as having a website or even using email). During this time, branding was beginning to become a major focus. Creating a brand of your own identity was crucial when I was getting started. I watched seasoned brokers struggle, while the newer, more adaptable ones caught up quickly. I am an early adopter and have found that success leaves clues. Being proactive and prolific in adopting tools to amplify your voice and brand is imperative in any industry, especially real estate.
I was really comfortable with sales already, and I knew I wanted to create a business. I interviewed with a top broker who ran a very large team. I felt comfortable with my sales acumen and was at a brokerage with a lot of continuing education opportunities. Brokerages leaned into providing their people with support and development professionally during that era and I wanted to build a career with that.
I am also super competitive and thrive on success. Fortunately, this industry is incredible in the sheer opportunities it opens up for you in so many ways. It empowers me and the life I want to live, and it has provided me with the opportunity to meet and network with people not just all around the country, but around the world. It has taught me to balance my time and my life, which allows me to say no to things that do not serve me, my business or my goals. However, it allows me to pursue the “yet”. This industry has taught me incredible listening skills, including how to read people and understand what is truly important to them.
How I’ve Shaped My Business Practices
Change is constant, so staying adaptable is a must. That being said, there are basic systems we have in place. I have a phenomenal business coach, and having accountability to double down on those systems has helped me tremendously. Simple things like writing thank you notes and spending quality time with your people are absolutely necessary. Pivoting quickly when we need to while maintaining our focus on our relationships is vital. Watching our self talk is another important pillar of staying adaptable.
When it comes to setting business goals, it’s important to have transparency on what is realistic, and knowing what is doable. So it’s a balancing act between knowing what you are capable of, setting realistic goals and measuring what is possible. It’s also knowing the conditions you are working in, what the market is, and holding yourself accountable.
My Biggest Challenges as a Woman in Real Estate
I face many of the same challenges business owners in general face: adapting to changing forces in an ever-changing world, pushing to consistently rise above complacency or mediocrity, maintaining balance and focus between life and business, etc.
As a woman and a CEO, I also face many of the same challenges we as women always face when pursuing excellence professionally. Whether it’s managing outright sexism or just having to work a bit harder than those gifted with male privilege, that is a facet of every professional woman’s life. Being a female CEO has its own challenges. Many men hate working for me, in my experience.
Safety is definitely another aspect to being a woman and a realtor that my male colleagues are privileged to take less seriously. Meeting with people we do not know well, going to spaces we are unfamiliar with, etc.–these are situations we as realtors consistently have to handle in this industry, and ones which are particularly dangerous to us as female brokers. We have to be aware when the news is full of stories of women brokers being assaulted or kidnapped – or murdered. Being vulnerable or put into precarious situations where we are less safe or at risk is something my male counterparts often do not have to consider in the same way. I’ve handled this aspect in my business with a lot of conscious effort and thought through the years. I stay vigilant by having people sign in at open houses and Google their names to ensure that I am not oblivious to who is in those isolated spaces with me. I also make a point to meet people first in a public space or at my own office. These are important things to do to manage your safety as a realtor. As women brokers, we’re often more cognizant of safety and take precautions, such as having a partner doing an open house with you, being very cautious with how you onboard and take on new clients, and making sure someone knows where you are and who you are with.
Important Entrepreneurial Traits
People often ask me about the top traits that are necessary for success. Here are the attributes that I feel are most important:
+Be persistent. I am tenacious and will keep after something until I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. Failure only occurs when we fail to pick up and try again. In the pursuit of mastery of your craft, whether that’s real estate or something else entirely, you have to be relentless in your pursuit of growth. Complacency is the enemy of success, and persistence and tenacity will always get you where you want to go.
+Have a thick skin. You really can’t hurt my feelings. In business, and especially in real estate, it’s imperative to have or develop a thick skin. We are often supporting clients going through intensely stressful situations, so we need to have the ability to separate our personal emotions from the business and the role we hold. We have to be able to have honest and direct conversations and not get feelings hurt along the way. Growth comes most when we are uncomfortable, so I think to grow as a business owner we have to be willing to solicit hard-to-hear feedback from time to time (and learn from it).
+ Be conscientious about communication. What we say and how we say it matters, so it’s important to educate yourself around neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). This will help you be conscientious in how you look at conversations and avoid taking things personally. Understanding human nomenclature has made it possible for me to keep going and thriving without stressing about someone being upset by something that is outside of me. My natural communication style is quite direct, but I have learned to listen incredibly well so that I can understand and reflect the communication style of my audience. My listening skills help to make sure my clients and I are more consistently on the same page. Clients sometimes jokingly ask if I am a mind reader, but I really think it comes back to actively listening, not just to what is being said, but also what is not being said.
Accountability to Achieve Growth
With growth as a main objective, it’s crucial that I keep myself accountable. I hold Monday morning meetings with my Director of Operations each week where we review the status of all major facets of our day-to-day business.
We hold one another accountable for knowing our clients, knowing our numbers, knowing our P&L, and knowing our budget so we stay accountable to the business and to treating the business like a business. Personally, I like the game of running my business, of meeting goals and bettering myself, so I am consistently engaged. I also have a professional business coach who helps to not only hold me accountable, but help me evaluate my progress objectively and plan strategically, as well.
My journey to success in the real estate industry is an ever-evolving endeavor. Staying adaptable, honing my communication skills, and working with others to hold myself accountable to my goals have been, and continue to be, instrumental.