What Motivates You? A Quick Look at How I Got into Real Estate

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Austin Texas Homes, LLC 453249

Not long ago, I was speaking with a friend of mine, and I explained to him that one of the quickest ways to get me to do something was to utter one of the following phrases:

"Jason, you won't be able to do that."


"I doubt you will be able to get that done."


"That seems pretty unlikely, but good luck with it."

In 1996, I was working as a retail manager for CompUSA.  One of the other managers at our store in north Austin mentioned that he had an idea for a business that "someone should develop".  He was perturbed by the fact that he and his wife were looking at homes, and all of the fliers they picked up were black and white Xeroxes. 

"I think it would be a great business to offer to use these new digital cameras and great color printers to produce color fliers for real estate agents."

I asked him if he minded if I were to run with the idea, since he was not interested in doing it himself.

"Sure, go for it," he replied.

About four months later, I quit my job there to run a company called Digital Homefront full-time.  Can you guess what our service was?

A few months after that, I got my real estate license, and I have been self-employed ever since.

Along the way, I heard from my naysayer friends about how frequently small businesses fail, and how much money you have to have in savings to get started in real estate.  When I started my own brokerage almost five years ago, there were a few who seemed skeptical then, too.  Now that we have 18 agents, I don't hear those types of comments anymore, thankfully.

When I started blogging on ActiveRain in August 2007, a fellow member left a comment on one of my posts, stating that it might be hard for me to ever be #1 in Austin on AR.  Looking back, this one actually seems humorous now.  Needless to say, it didn't take me that long to hit that mark with consistent effort.

Why am I telling you this stuff, anyway?

Well, it's simple really.  I wrote this in an effort to get you, the reader, to give some thought to what really motivates YOU in your industry.  Do you like the idea of a challenge?  Are you in your business to help others?  In my own case, tell me that I can't do something, and stand back while I figure out how to get it done.  I like the notion of achieving something that isn't easy.  I also like being my own boss.

Give some thought to what your TRUE motivators are (hopefully, something other than money alone). 

Thanks for reading!       

Photo above courtesy of starbuddie84 from Flickr.com.

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If you're looking for a home in the Austin area, you can also visit my primary website at www.austintexashomes.com.  Thanks!


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Scott Baker
www.eHomeReports.com Coldwell Banker West Shell - Liberty Township, OH
Realtor Homes for Sale in Cincinnati, West Chester, Mason, OH Area

Making your own decisions and having to live with them. Working for someone else can be simple, but it is no fun. This is a great business, and yes, the money is good.

May 24, 2009 03:58 PM #62
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Jason -- It's so easy to see why you are successful, thanks for sharing.  I have always been the adventurous type, although as time goes on, I also try to temper this with reason and logic to ensure decisions are not haphazard and also the execution is consistent and measurable.

May 24, 2009 04:50 PM #63
Marvin de la Vega
Realty Source Inc - Chula Vista, CA

Jason, there are sooooo many people out there that need good competent help. Aside from my family and the obvious reasons for earning a living, it's the people out there that need me the most, THEY are the ones that motivate me. Factor in that I have personal beliefs in how I am put in their lives (or they in mine, whichever) and their success is inevitable - call it providence.

May 24, 2009 05:35 PM #64
Harrison Painter
GoGladiator Media - Carmel, IN
New Media Consultant

I am driven by competition, and really enjoy being able to do it better than my competition!

- When I left my very solid day job, everybody said I would fail!

- When I started Gladiator Real Estate Group, they said I would fail!

- When I did not quit the real estate business when the market tanked, they said I would fail!

Guess what? I am still here and kicking butt!!

Great post! you have me extra motivated to go out and CRUSH IT next week!!!!!!!

Have a Profitable Day Everyone!

- Harrison Painter

May 24, 2009 07:42 PM #65
Janice Roosevelt
Keller Williams Brandywine Valley - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

Jason, great post, and on this Memorial Day am reminded of the vets and their families who, one day at a time, continue to do the impossible, heal, move forward, love, and to think that I have the opportunity to pursuie a career like real estate becauseof it.

May 24, 2009 10:34 PM #66
Sharon Paxson
Compass - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate

Jason - it is interesting how your career evolved, and now self employed - great story!

May 24, 2009 11:17 PM #67
Marney Kirk
Cummings & Co. Realtors - Towson, MD
Towson, Maryland Real Estate

Jason, what a great post. I think that is a FANTASTIC motivator and I am glad you took the bull by the horns and RAN with it! Congrats!

May 24, 2009 11:50 PM #68
Norma Brandsberg
Marks Realty Co. Inc., Lynchburg, VA, 540-586-9496 - Forest, VA

Thanks for the post. It is always good to get motivated, especially on a Monday!

May 25, 2009 01:26 AM #69
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Good from the heart sharing. Listening to your own voice in your head, having a group of mentors to bounce off for support and guidance, and passion to be the best the key. Funny how your previous path led you to this point and got you into the monitor of all these AR bloggers. The Little Red Hen had the same problem you encountered along the way. Everyone else is an expert on how you should run your life...if you let them.

May 25, 2009 01:53 AM #70
Paul McFadden
Paratex - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Jason: Thanks for the post. When someone tells me I can't do something, I get fired up. Granted, these days all my friends and acquaintances encourage each other. It's all about who we choose to hang with. If we're hanging around positive, self-motivated people we really don't have any excuses! Thanks again.

May 25, 2009 02:47 AM #71
Elizabeth Cooper-Golden
Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group) - Huntsville, AL
Huntsville AL MLS

Jason, Great story!  18 agents?  That's awesome!  My husband wants me to open an office...I may call you to pick your brain.

I think Real Estate has to be in our blood, to be a success.  I LOVE people and LOVE houses.   I also have the attention span of an ant, so this is perfect for me.  Always something new and exciting going on.  I thrive on stress, as I'm sure many of us do.


May 25, 2009 04:11 AM #72
An Marshall
Berkshire Hathaway - St. Augustine - Saint Augustine, FL
Your St Augustine Real Estate Consultant

I have been very motivated since Day 1 in Real Estate.  Just recently introduced to Active Rain, tho, I see that I am highly motivated to increase my ranking and lovin' it!

May 25, 2009 08:55 AM #73
Aaron Poling
Long & Foster - Martinsburg, WV
Working to get YOU the BEST Deal!

I love the postive attitude, its very inspiring!

May 25, 2009 10:16 AM #74
Kelly Willey
Coco Plum Real Estate, Kelly Willey, FLORIDA KEYS - Marathon, FL
Florida Keys Luxury Sales, Marathon, Key Colony

Jason: Nice post. I think maybe of us self starters are challege junkies with a will to succeed where other fail.

May 25, 2009 12:45 PM #75
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Most people think that they are motivated by money, but very few really are.  When I was a retail manager I figured that out pretty easily...  I'm motivated to find something just a little better... all of the time. 

May 25, 2009 01:08 PM #76
Marian Goetzinger
Pine Knoll Shores Realty 252-422-9000 - Pine Knoll Shores, NC
Crystal Coast Real Estate NC

Jason,  my poor husband has finally learned to avoid telling me I can't do something.  I grew up poor and determined to be more.  If anybody tells me a thing cannot be done I will do everything in my power to make it happen.  Often just pure determination is all it takes but a positive attitude is one of my greatest gifts and strengths.  Sounds like you are the same way.  Oh, I think I just had a great idea for a new blog.  Thanks Jason.

May 26, 2009 12:49 AM #77
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Jason--I love this post and all the great comments.  Guess that describes the majority of us.

May 26, 2009 03:14 AM #78
Coleen DeGroff
Coldwell Banker M.M. Parrish Realtors - Gainesville, FL
Haile Plantation Real Estate - Gainesville FL

The whole reason I went to school for my MBA was just to see if I could do it, so I totally get the challenge thing.  I am the first person in our family to graduate from college .....  I put myself through secretarial school and then went to college for my undergraduate degree for 9 years at night (so that my employer would pay for the classes).

It seems to me that the biggest thing standing in the way of our success is ourselves!


Thanks for sharing your story with us!

May 26, 2009 03:25 AM #79
Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains

Jason: Great success story and very inspirational.  As soon as someone tells me it can't be done, I'm off and running.  That comes from an ex boss many years ago who was constantly holding me back.  His attempt to keep me down only made me more determined, so even though his true motive was to hold me back, I owe him a great big thank you because that was probably the time in my life when I really discovered that I can do whatever I set my mind to.

May 28, 2009 01:25 AM #80
DriveBuy Technologies
DriveBuy Technologies - Austin, TX

I always imagine the different ways my life could end up based on my current actions. I will not be one of those sad souls that looks back on their life and can count their greatest accomplishments on one or two fingers. I want fingers and toes, y'all! I want memories of hard work and goals achieved. Most of all, I don't want any major regrets. Life is short and to live well requires sacrifice and integrity. Thanks for the post.

May 28, 2009 07:40 AM #81
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Jason Crouch

Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)
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