Just Start Something features men and women who took the initiative to start a new venture.

Get to know Christian Harris, founder of Sea-Town Real Estate, podcaster, and real estate agent in the Seattle area.

TELL US A STORY ABOUT WHY YOU STARTED SEA-TOWN REAL ESTATE.

The first couple years were really difficult and stressful as a new agent. I realized that, even at a large franchise that had a lot of resources, tools, and programs for their agents, there wasn't any comprehensive process for helping new agents get started on their career.

You were pretty much on your own to figure out how to brand yourself, market, find new business, and learn how to actually help your clients with their real estate needs.

On top of that, most of the advice that was given in classes or from the experienced agents was old tired sales tactics that the industry had been using for decades. The same stuff that I hate sales people doing to me (cold calling, door knocking, blasting out flyers in the mail, etc).

I found myself wasting tons of time, energy, and money bouncing between another "great opportunity" and trying another marketing tactic. Like most agents, I was able to drum up some business to pay the bills, but I think it was more in spite of my prospecting efforts, not because of them.

Even the top producing agents in my office ran around like chickens with their heads cut off most the time. Maybe they enjoyed the anxiety that comes with teetering on the edge, but I found myself thinking:

That's not sustainable and certainly not how I want to run my business or live my life.

And then it hit me: I hadn't been running my business. My business had been running me.

WHAT WERE SOME TOOLS THAT HELPED YOU MAKE THAT SHIFT?

I decided to finally sit down and write out a business plan. I wrote out why I was in real estate, what was important to me in how I run my business, my ideal client, and I started being intentional with how I used my time. 

I started reading all the business books I could get my hands on (The E-Myth and Good to Great were highly influential) and intentionally stayed away from books specific to the real estate industry, as they tend to all say the same thing and propagate pretty low-level ideas & business practices.

I started saying no to opportunities that were outside of my hedgehog concept and focused all my energy in one direction. I started developing systems and processes to streamline my home-buyer and home-seller processes, which resulted in a uniformly high-quality experience for every one of my clients. After having revamped my business, brand, and processes, agents in my office started coming to me for help on these topics.

I started consulting and began to see a massive need in the real estate industry. As I met with other agents, and heard their frustrations, it became increasingly clear to me that I was passionate about using my skills to help other agents establish their systems, processes, and training, in order to help them be the best that they can be and be able to give their clients the best service and experience possible.

I became excited about scaling the systems I had built for my business and leveraging them to help more people, both agents and clients.  In order to do this, I quickly realized that I would need to open my own real estate brokerage. So I did.

WHat's on the horizon FOR SEA-TOWN REAL ESTATE?

I'm excited about the positive response from my clients, the community, and other agents, all of whom seem to understand that what we are doing is different. Also, even with only being a couple months old, we are already starting to see some real traction!

It energizes me knowing that I am bringing value and support to other agents that I never got as a new agent.

Ultimately, being able to provide a foundation for a real estate agents' business and show step-by-step tutorials on how to use our technology to take their business to the next level is very exciting.

I'm also excited about being able to incorporate philanthropy and community involvement directly into our business model. We give a percentage of each sold home to a non-profit of our client's choice and the brokerage matches the donation.

In order to make the largest impact possible, we also encourage the cooperating brokers to donate and, if they do, Sea-Town Real Estate matches that donation, which can result in a total possible contribution of 10% of the commission proceeds going to a community charity.

WHAT'S YOUR HOPE FOR THE FUTURE OF SEA-TOWN REAL ESTATE?

My hope is to be a refuge and sanctuary for like-minded agents to thrive and flourish. We anticipate drawing in agents who value a quality experience over just turning out sales. My goal is to create a culture and business that is bigger than just helping our clients with their real estate needs--though those results and the process matter very much to us.

I want a create a business that is focused on helping agents be the best they can be and promoting overall flourishing, satisfaction, and a quality experience for agents and clients.

I hope that we can be an answer to helping raise the overall bar and expectation of an industry that typically seems more focused on volume and sales numbers, than really caring about doing an exceptional job for their clients throughout the whole process.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START SOMETHING?

Figure out who you are, your principles, and what motivates you so that you don't cave to the pressures around you that may not line up with those values. And don't give up!

It's easy to feel overwhelmed when you look at where you are and contrast it with where you want to be and what it will take to get there. Take a deep breath, sit down, develop your strategic plan, and break it up into little bite-sized pieces. 

Build your business one piece at a time and, before you know it, you'll look back and see how far you've come.

Most people never get past the idea phase and fail to ever even start so, once you start, just keep going. It's also valuable to surround yourself with wise counsel. Finally, know yourself enough to be aware of your strengths and weakness, seek out people you respect, and be humble enough to listen to their advice.

HOW CAN PEOPLE KEEP UP WITH YOU?

  • Visit our website Sea-Town.com
  • Like Sea-Town Real Estate on Facebook: HERE or follow us on Twitter: HERE.
  • You can subscribe to our monthly email to stay up to date HERE.
  • Email me at ChristianHarris@Sea-Town.com.
  • If you live in the Seattle area, you may like listening to the Sea-Town Podcast, where we interview Seattle area business owners, entrepreneurs and community leaders who tell their stories. Subscribe here: http://tinyurl.com/gwvk9s5
  • If you're in the business world, specifically business services, you may enjoy the AppsJack Podcast. Each month we focus on a different business topic and invite guests who are experts in their field to have a round table discussion with us.

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