Grateful For The Struggle? (Part 1)

Real Estate Agent with Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 CA BRE# 01261476

   Grateful For The Struggle?  
(Week 2, Post 2 of the Active Rain Challenge)


When I moved to San Diego in 2003 my career started completely over, I knew nobody and worse; nobody knew me. But I had 1 year of savings set aside to carry me for this situation,  I had my Working By Referral System and my skillset, so I went to work on building my business back up one relationship at a time.
It actually took me two years to get my first C.O.E. and I had to go back to basics and do thousands of hours of networking to build my business. I was able to use my property management business, Nelson Properties, to supplement my delayed and relocated real estate career, so we didn't go hungry.
Thank goodness I'd been investing in buy & hold properties; we had mailbox money.

In spite of the challenges, setbacks and delays, I was grateful for what it
made of me to roll up my sleeves and figure it out; I had no outside safety net, my businesses were all I had. My bride was in medical school and my family didn't support our decision to relocate, so was very much on my own with this decision to start anew in America's Finest City.

When the market crashed in 2006, I needed to completely start my business strategy over...AGAIN! I literally went back to investor/distressed property school, luckily it was a pop-up non-accredited university: Nouveau Riche University in Glendale, Arizona. They had actual investors and lawyers  and financial people, that would take 1 week off, 6X's per year to teach classes at NRU. So you were learning from soldiers, not Generals - which is what you wanted!

 I could have decided it was too expensive and financially risky to fly to Phoenix 5-6 times per year for the next two years and sit in a week's worth of classes, while our market was burning down and the country was sinking. But, what I learned those next two years literally took me from pre-foreclosure ignorance to being one of the top short sale experts in San Diego by 2010 and I was being hired/referred by other agents to negotiate their deals for their clients so they too could close some deals!

In spite of being financially terrified, I adapted and overcame in the worst financial and real estate market of our lifetime and the second worst in history. I'd never wish for anything like this; I really wish events like this didn't happen. However, I'm grateful for the struggle that tested me, forced me to rise up and showed me what I was capable of despite being scared I was going to lose my career and my house back then. I'm also grateful others rose up too, and gave me a sense of community that remained positive through the doom and gloom!
Continued in Part 2 next week.



Photo 1 by Martin Lopez:
Additional Photos TJN

Posted by

Thomas J. Nelson
REALTOR®, CRS, RCS-D, CDPE, e-Pro, Certified Military Home Specialist, Luxury Home Specialist, Author, Keynote Speaker and  Podcast Host 

Serving Coastal San Diego from Carlsbad to Coronado, Downtown, Balboa Park Area,
La Jolla/UCSD & Mission Bay Park Areas
I Offer Rebates to Veterans
& Active Duty

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(858) 232-8722
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RCS-Divorce     Southern California Chapter of Certified Residential Specialists (CRS)

Disclaimer:  Nothing in this blog article is to be construed as legal advice, tax advice, medical advice or financial advice.  For legal advice see an attorney.   For tax advice, health or financial advice see a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or other qualified professional.

Comments (11)

Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Thomas  interesting blog to share with us this morning in the Rain.  Make it a great Sunday!

Nov 20, 2022 08:05 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Thomas - from terror to terrific.  Not a short route but you took the necessary avenues of success to make it a less rocky road.  I like the direction you shared.  

Nov 20, 2022 08:56 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Thomas,
I think those tough times bring out the best in us, so we don't have to be scared when things shift. We learned that we can figure out how to make it work. There is really only one kind of market, "Opportunity".  It changes clothes constantly, though, doesn't it?

Nov 20, 2022 09:31 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

Well said Carol,very well said!

Nov 20, 2022 04:41 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

You've had a very wild ride, Thomas, but you persevered.  We learn a lot from struggles.  I know I have, and you have!

Nov 20, 2022 06:55 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Thomas, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Nov 20, 2022 06:56 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Thomas- you are the poster boy for perseverance. You've not just adjusted you've thrived in tough times. I met many agents in 2007-08 who did not adjust their sails and just closed shop. 


Nov 20, 2022 07:34 PM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I wish that I had known you back in 2006 when you were in the Phoenix area often, we could have begun a nice friendship way back then!  I am grateful to have you as a friend in my life now and look forward to seeing you again soon!

Nov 21, 2022 05:47 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

That would’ve been very cool Brian, we were actually staying a little hotel out in Peoria and going to the Renaissance Hotel in Glendale right next to the stadium and we’re having lunch every day at Margaritaville in the shopping mall.

Nov 21, 2022 06:42 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good afternoon Thomas,

I agree with Carol Williams "I think those tough times bring out the best in us, so we don't have to be scared when things shift." You've made it happen which has to make you proud it took a lot of perseverance! Now look at what you've achieved! 

Nov 29, 2022 01:06 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

I can't say what I felt after reading your post any better than Carol Williams did, Thomas. I followed that same path that you did and like you, I was terrified but, that kept me on my toes and got me through the crazy 2008 - 2012 years. 

We don't tend to panic when the market shifts to super busy so, when we see the dip coming or are in the midst of it, the experience we have under our belts helps us move beyond the terror. We did it before, we can do it again! 

Love your attitude of gratitude, Thomas! I hope you're feeling better this evening.

Nov 29, 2022 10:21 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I came over to read this before I read part 2. Those tough challenging times can either break us or make us. I'm thrilled you chose the second path and took the risks you needed to take. Excellent post; thank you for sharing.

Nov 30, 2022 05:30 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D VetsWhen the going gets tough, the tough gets going. You are not a quitter. A lot of what you mentioned resonated with me. Between your story, and mine I would say, we are both survivors. 

Now I am off to read Part 11

Dec 23, 2022 10:23 AM