Fatherpreneur.com

My journey of balancing small business and small kids


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Be a pro during stressful times

Being a business owner can be extremely stressful at times. Okay, it’s stressful most of the time especially during the start-up, massive growth, transition, downsizing, or Monday through Friday. A small business owner is CEO, CFO, COO and DAD at the same time, which equals to lots of WINE (just occasionally).

Lets throw on top of that being in the real estate business where your clients are generally going through something considered second only to death in terms of stress, moving.  It’s my job and current life’s work to help people get from one place to another.  Handing the keys over to a first time buyer is a great feeling. Handing a check over to a couple who just sold their recently passed dad’s house is heartfelt.  This business is amazing. However it has it’s stresses with odd hours, weekends, late night phone calls. When the world is getting off at 5 pm after a normal business day your second half is often just beginning. Being successful in this business is tough and the rewards are great as well.

One of the most difficult aspects of business is working with your clients and other parties emotions.  People are going to handle stress a different way. It amazes me that I can have two clients going through similar situations in the same week and handle it completely opposite. One will get angry and frantic and the other will take it in stride and roll with it.  I have learned that both clients are right.  They have the right to feel what they feel.

I am a “roll with it” person and early in my career I let the angry folks really get to me.  Rolling with the punches doesn’t make me weak or less of a negotiator in fact composure makes me better. I have a philosophy that life happens and your part of it instead of things happening against you.  When you don’t see obstacles as personal it’s easier to deal with them. The buyer’s bank didn’t deny the loan at the last minute to cause the seller major stress on purpose. Things happen and it’s how we respond that is important.  “Don’t give a circumstance power over you” is something I tell myself often when things are going south with a deal.

My job is to be the calm in the midst of a storm. I can’t let their stress and anger affect my decision making and advice.  You would be amazed the kind of anger people get in a transaction.  I can tell when the agent on the other side is letting their client stress them out.  I have counseled crying agents through tough deals.

It took a long time to learn to stay calm and composed. It allows me to be a better negotiator and a better agent with real advice not emotion filled responses that just fuel the fire.  I once had a client remark that I was almost to calm.  I asked them how their experience would have been if I was upset and frantic when they called. They said, “oh, that makes sense.”  Composure is to be remained when with a client. I go to bat for my clients and make sure the other side is aware of what’s going on.  At home where I feel comfortable to let stress out I can get frustrated.  My wife knows when a client is upset or a deal is going bad. She knows the look in my face when I get the “deals dead” phone call. The “we just lost $8,000 in a few seconds” call. There are very few jobs in the world where you can spend 6 months working on a project and not get paid for it. There are also few jobs where you can meet someone and make $8,000 a few weeks later. I had to learn quickly to find ways to manage such stress at home. Just like my client’s stress isn’t my fault, my family shouldn’t get the blame for my work stress.

I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the tops agents in our city and frankly the state. I asked “how do you handle it all?” His response, “exercise, faith, and stress management. You can’t own their problems.”  That was great confirmation for me.  I had a problem early on of owning people’s problems.  People make choices that get them in situations and then because of the stress of the situation they can find fault with the people they hire to help them. This is true of doctors, lawyers, counselors, almost any business.    Trust me I go way above for my clients and offer great solutions to the problems.  A major life lesson is to always remember that how people respond to you or a situation is out of your control.

Learning to not own the problem has actually made me better at helping solve the problem. That’s what professionals do. Imagine a quarterback getting stressed out and frantic when the defense just gave up a touchdown with two minutes left and is now behind by 6.  We expect a champion to go out focused and composed to lead the charge. That’s what our customers expect from us. If you own their stress you can’t be a pro.  You can understand their stress, empathize, but you can not blame yourself for it.

It’s still a struggle daily. Like any muscle in life the staying calm muscle gets stronger with practice. Find a way to learn how to remain calm. My main weapons for handling stress are words. I have a few phrases that keep me calm. I remind myself the situation will often be over in a few days or weeks. I try to work my client through their stress by asking questions that lead them to find an answer to the real cause of stress.

My other weapons are exercise, prayer and chocolate. yes women, it works for men also.  Chocolate tends to beat out the exercise which is a whole other stress.  Ultimately experience and the ability to gather perspective will be your greatest strengths when dealing with stress. The better you can learn to handle stress the better you will be for your clients. Be a pro.

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My 5 year old daughter said the “F” word

When you become a parent you know there are going to be milestone moments. The first word, first step, the first “I love you daddy,” the moments that melt your heart. You quickly become aware there are going to be the others, you know the one’s that you’ll laugh about later, just not in the moment because instead of your heart melting it’s exploding with anger, embarrassment, or fear.

I came home from a day of making changes in our office to unveil the new franchise we purchased for our real estate business. I was in a good mood and began playing with Joss, my three year old daughter. As I’m rolling around on the floor with little Joss my five year old daughter, Ayla, walked up to me. She then looked down at me and with a giant smile says “s#@t!” I hopped up with the skill of a retired ninja and looked for my wife. “Oak did she say what I think she just said.”

I was in the moment and thinking to myself don’t over react she doesn’t know what she said. Then my wife informed me that they had a long discussion earlier that afternoon about that very word because she had showed my wife her new found vocabulary.

I looked back at my daughter and didn’t see my sweet little girl anymore. I swear she was standing there with a high ball full of whiskey puffing a cigar doing her best Ron White tater salad face.

I may have gotten a little upset with her. I was more upset that she had disobeyed her mom and said it again.  I came out with the “that’s such an ugly word to come out of such a pretty face. That’s a word they can’t even say on TV.”  I tried to keep my voice down, but I’m dad, raising my voice at all is probably scary to them. I’m working on that one.  My wife and I shot disappointing looks her way and she ran to her room to cry in her embarrassment.

I asked my wife about the previous incident. She explained a kid at school had said it. We happen to know the boys mom. The big question was do we make the call.  My thinking was yes, call and let me listen. I was hoping that on the other end would be a repeat of the beating Schwartz received in a Christmas Story. I even contemplated looking for a bar of soap for my little “Ralphie.” My wife did speak with the boy’s mother the next day in person.

I calmed down and went and spoke to my little sailor.  I apologized for raising my voice and held her for a bit. I asked her where she heard the word. She explained that the boy had asked the teacher in front of the whole class if they could say it at school.  I told her that word is not one that smart people use and that it’s meant to shock people. There is really no good explanation other than don’t say it.

You may be asking “where is the ‘F’ word”?  The next night I was tucking Ayla into bed and she proceeded to tell me, “daddy I can’t get that word out of my head.”  Yet, another teachable moment for the Fatherpreneur.  “Sweetie, the good thing is that God has given us the ability to change our thoughts.  Try to think of something fun that makes you happy.”

“Okay daddy, I will think of the ‘F’ word,” she said in an innocent voice.  Holy “S” word ran through my head. “Who has this kid been hanging out with.”  I told myself to remain calm. “Ayla, what is the ‘F’ word?”

I turned my head not wanting to see her speak the word. “Family! I am going to think about you, mommy, and Joss.”

My heart began to beat again and I gave her a giant hug.  I left her room to look for a high ball full of scotch.

When raising a family and a business you are going to encounter moments that are less than fun.  You’ll have moments that shock you and test your patience.  It’s important to always learn from these moments. Each one that happens will make the next one easier to handle.  Calm, cool, collected is gained through trial by five year old.  Each day they grow, I grow.

My heart and my head are not always on the same page when it comes to moments like these.  Maybe there are times when they both need to take a backseat to my funny bone. The reality is that we all will have these moments to laugh at later.  To make them easier maybe we should laugh a little sooner and ease the pain of the moment. These are the moments that make life fun. Go hug your “F” word.


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Teal Is The New Green – A major business move

PPSOL Business card

I am excited to announce that Green Door Real Estate is now EXIT Realty Bay Area. After lots of prayer, thought, and work I have decided to take our boutique brokerage to the next level by becoming a franchisee with EXIT Realty. EXIT Realty International is the fifth largest real estate company in the United States and growing. With its unique single level residual program, unparalleled training, technology and a strong focus on personal growth, my family and I felt EXIT was a must.

Below is the story of my decision and how God showed up in the process.

For the past five years I have attended an event called Mastermind in San Diego. The event is hosted by Buffini and Company, the professional real estate coaching company I have hired to help me in my business. At each event there is a session dedicated to goal and vision writing. This past August I set a goal that in 2014 Green Door Real Estate will grow to 15 agents.

On the plane home I began thinking about this goal and how to go about it. I had never recruited before or even tried to.  I knew long term I wanted to grow a team where I can be a coach and help agents build successful businesses and family lives.

I wrote down three things: Training (professional and life), resources and support, and a strong financial model. These are three elements that agents need to succeed in the tough and rewarding business of real estate. I started looking around at companies across the country to model. I wanted to pick the best of what was working. I then came across EXIT and knew it wasn’t just a model I wanted to emulate; it was a company that I wanted to be part of. They have strong training, support, and the best financial model in the industry to create strong brokers and agent.

I had looked into EXIT almost ten years ago when they were in their infancy and thought it was a great idea then. The timing was just not right for me at that time.

In September I inquired about EXIT through the company’s website. A little time went by and I received an e-mail video message from Tami Bonell. We then set up a time to speak on the phone. Little did I know at the time that she is the CEO of EXIT Realty United States.  We had a great conversation and set a follow up. On the next call she asked if I could go to Washington DC to their national convention.  My wife and I debated if we could make it work. The morning we were discussing the trip and EXIT I turned on the TV for my kids to find Joyce Meyer was on. I wish I could remember the exact words she spoke, but it was something to the effect of, “I you are given an opportunity, don’t let your fear keep you from exploring it. While you are exploring the move God will make it clear if it’s from him.”  I booked my trip shortly after. At the convention I met several great people, including the founder of EXIT, Steve Morris.  One thing stood out to me while at the convention. During the lunch Steve stood in line with the rest of the several thousand people there. He did not hide or seek special treatment. He was one of us. During his keynote speech he expressed the poise and leadership that one would expect from a world class CEO. He laid out his vision for the company and I felt a great energy in the room.

The Sunday after the convention, my pastor, Pastor Bil Cornelius, made a point during his sermon that struck me. Part of the quandary I was feeling was giving up my dream of Green Door and the vision I had set for it.  Then Pastor Bil said that sometimes God will accomplish your dreams when you attach them to a leaders vision. Essentially if you help someone accomplish their visions your vision will be met along the way. I quickly realized the vision I had for my company can still be, it just may have a different name on the door.

I made the commitment to purchase a franchise and in December was in Canada for a week of training.  The whole time God kept showing up and lining up people and the timing for this new step in the life of my family. I feel whole heartedly that this company will change the lives of hundreds of agents in our market place and my family tree forever.

This is not going to be easy. There is going to be a lot of ups and downs, frustrations and joys. The journey is the exciting part.  What we need from you is support in the form of referrals to customers and to agents.

I am excited about what God is going to do through us to change the real estate community in Corpus Christi.  I am excited about the growth I am going to experience. I am excited about documenting my journey as a fatherpreneur. The EXIT change is just part of my overall dream of helping me and women live fulfilled lives with successful business and successful families.

I could keep writing for hours about what we have experienced of the past few months, owever, I must literally go and start switching out yard signs.

Our new web address is www.EXITRealtyBayArea.com (The green to teal change will take a few days on the site) . To learn more about EXIT as a whole please visit www.EXITRealty.com and check out some great videos about the company at http://www.youtube.com/user/EXITRealtyVideos

It’s a blessed life,

Joseph Cortez


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“KNOW THYSELF” – Plato

There is one common element in the journey to grow a strong family and business, it’s you.  That’s right, you are with yourself 24 hours a day.  From the boardroom to the bedroom you are there with you.  The interesting thing is that many people don’t  really know who they truly are. We have all heard the stories of people taking trips and time to go “find themselves.”  If it was only as easy as looking up “ME” on EBAY. I was curious what would turn up. The search resulted in pictures and post cards about Maine. I can tell you I am definitely not there (I don’t do cold well).  On Amazon the results were a bit more interesting. A face aging app, some odd novels, and a book by Ricky Martin titled “ME”.  Not on my short list to read no matter loca my vida gets.

So where does one go to “Know Thyself?” The answer, IN.  That’s right you must venture into the most scary place of all mankind, your inner thoughts. Without going “nuts” on the psychological and self-help ideologies I truly believe there are three areas in which you must know yourself that will feed into your family, business and all spaces in between.

1. You must know what you BELIEVE

Belief systems are the basis of all decisions we make and actions we take.  How we view the world, ourselves, religion, our children, the industry we work in is key to our success in life. The belief that success is possible is the start.  Next week I will go into more detail about how belief systems as a parent and business owner need to line up and work together. When we have contradictory beliefs we create friction in our life.  To “Know Thyself” you must understand what you believe and why.  Where did it come from and why do I really believe this? Challenge yourself and strengthen your beliefs or change them.

2. You must know HOW YOU RELATE TO PEOPLE, your personality and communication styles

Do you know your personality style?  There are bunch of great tests out there. Have you ever taken one?  Everyone in the entire world should take one. I have done several. The coaching company I employee has a very detailed program that my wife and I took together. It truly helped us understand how we operate and communicate. Patience is one of the greatest expressions of love we can show. When you understand how you relate to people and how your loved ones, co-workers relate you can be patient with each other. I recently had DISC profile done and went through a great class to learn how the styles interact. I had one done for my 5 year old as well in order to better understand her (if understanding a 5 year old tween wannabe is possible).  I will get into detail on this in a future posts as well. In the meantime consider that the way you see the world is not the same as the way those around you see it. People don’t even hear words the same. Some people hear tone more than verbage and many people are the opposite. Knowing these differences make the world and it’s people easier to deal with. You can’t change others, however you can change how you relate to them.

3. You must know WHAT YOU WANT!

Having a vision of what you want your life to look like is crucial. You must have a vision for your business and for your family.  It’s not just numerical goals or resolutions. Think about how you want your life to be day to day. The type of people you want in your business. Think about how your kids behave and treat others. We all want well educated kids, but what does that mean. More importantly we want children who have great character and influence. I recently heard Andy Andrews say that we should not focus on having great kids, instead we should focus on raising on kids who become great adults. That is the truth. Greatness is a journey that can only be achieved with vision. If you don’t know where you are driving you’ll find yourself in a place you never wanted to go. One of the best exercises I have ever done is writing a letter to myself from the future. On the top of the page write the date January 8, 2019.  Then tell your current self how your life is in 2019. This is a best case scenario future. It’s your ideal life so dream big. Explain what your day looks like. How does your family begin it’s day. Where are your kids, what are their ages, how do they interact with you and your spouse. How is your relationship with your spouse. What does your company look like?  Do this for all areas of your life. Ask and answer great questions of yourself. Take 15 minutes to just free write. It’s an amazing experience and you’ll find yourself taking a lot more time.

Knowing your vision, your personality, and your beliefs will be the first steps on truly unlocking who you are and aiding your journey as a parentpreneur.

Go forth and learn thyself.


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Fatherpreneurship

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Hello World,

I am Joseph Cortez (the man in the picture above) and I am a Fatherpreneur. I can see you trying to figure out just what that is. A “Fatherpreneur” is a guy who is a father and entrepreneur. My goal with fatherpreneur.com is to archive my journey, struggles, and insights with raising two small children and two small businesses.  The girls are 5 and 3 and the businesses are also 5 and 3. My life can be a little crazy from time to time, meaning second to second. One minute I’m on the phone discussing a real estate deal and the next I am dancing as a Prince in my daughter’s Barbie the Nutcracker meets Barbie Princess Charm School imaginary ballet.

Everyday millions of men and women struggle to balance family and business.  The big question is how do family and business intertwine into a joy filled and successful life. There is a constant balancing act that is difficult to manage. In fact as I write this my three year old has run into my room to greet the day by sitting on my lap to help me type. “I want to play ABCMouse.com when you are done, Pleaseeeeee”  Hard to say no to that face. She won the computer and I am now at the office.

Parentrpreneurs world-wide are the backbone of most economies and we all encounter them daily. From the dry cleaner with his daughter at the front counter to the brain surgeon who’s clinic is performing a life saving operation and all in between. There is a delicate balance of family and business. On one hand business is there to support the family, thus it must succeed. On the other hand the family must succeed because there is really no back up plan for the family.

This constant tug-of-war can be the cause of great stress, frustration, satisfaction and unparalled joy.  Do I have it figured out 100%, well no.  What I have figured out is to be aware that the potential for failure is possible and so is success. With this awareness I am constantly seeking out knowledge and wisdom in the areas of personal development, business, family dynamics and stress relief.

My hope is that with each weekly blog post I can give you some insight that may help you along in your Parentpreneurial journey and most of all to let you know that you are not alone. I have come to realize that people who don’t own a business can really never understand how hard it truly is. Thrown a child or six and the task it even greater.

I was researching the main reasons businesses fail the other day and was not surprised to see family dynamics on the list.  After all small business is family business. Trying to truly separate the two is a myth and almost dangerous. The right idea is that they work together.

Please join me on my journey towards growing a successful family and a successful enterprise.  It really is possible to have both and the journey itself is the greatest success of all.

It’s a blessed life,
Joseph Cortez

The Expectation Cliff

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The Expectation Cliff

With all the talk of the “Fiscal Cliff” in Washington, we must be aware of the “Expectation Cliff” this Holiday Season.  The number one piece of advice I can give anyone for this time of year to have Peace in your life is to be aware of your expectations of others and yourself. Many of the disappointments you feel in your life come from unrealized and unmet expectations.  Consistently being disappointed can lead to a relationship being destroyed that didn’t have to.  Before your drive your relationships of the cliff you can learn to steer things in the right direction.

This is often the result of expecting something from others that we have never let them know we expect.  The whole men don’t read minds thing is true. It also works the other way either.  Of course women tend to have an idea what men are thinking this time of year, football, food, football, sex, food, food, then nothing, and then more of the same.  Unsaid expectation always lead to unmet expectation.

The more expectations you have of someone the easier it is to be disappointed. This does not mean that we should not have reasonable expectations. What I am referring to is expecting someone to act exactly how you want them to or believe they should. We often want others to act exactly like us. Everyone is unique and they have different beliefs, different experiences, and different thoughts which means they will act and think differently than you.

This holiday season the number one thing you can serve is grace. Have grace with those around you and enjoy their differences. Modify your expectations to be realistic of others. Just because you do something a certain way don’t expect others to do the same. The stories we tell ourselves about unmet expectations are often destructive and in most cases plain wrong.  For example if someone forgets to send you a card it’s probably because they forgot and not that they dislike you.    Adjust the story and how you think about unmet expectation and you  can really transform your day to day living.

This simple way of approaching people can save you a lot of pain and add joy to your life.  It will allow you to experience the moments of the day instead of judging them away.

Til next time It’s A Blessed Life,
Joseph Cortez


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1st Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Set to Expire

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The $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit is expiring on Dec. 1 of 2009. This means you have to be closed and funded on November 30th.  

Buyers, the average loan is taking 45 to 60 days to close right now. If you are even remotely thinking about buying get out today. My recommendation is that you have to be under contract by Oct. 1st with Oct. 15 pushing the line. Hundreds if not thousands of people in our area will be trying to take advantage of this credit in the coming months. This will cause banks to get busier and slower.  Lets get out and start looking today.

Sellers, now is the time to get your house on the market soon. With buyers out looking to get their home purchased soon, this is a great time for you. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

Below are 2 fliers containing information about the tax credit. I have also attached a link from an article I found with some great details on the program.

Last Chance Flier      Free Money

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Contact Information – 361.537.8959 or joseph@josephcortez.com