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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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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Slow Down Your Experience

Four years ago last week I became a father for the first time. It’s been an amazing journey that has taught me many lessons. One of which is  to embrace the little things more. In a world that is chasing the next big idea at a rapid pace, the little things are the most amazing things we have. I love the little laughs and the “aha” moments in my daughters eyes as they discover something new.  The “aha” and “awe” moments seem to be less frequent as we age. I am trying to rekindle my “awe” moments.  The world is full of amazing things we take for granted.  The fact that I can be typing in Texas and someone in India and Thailand will read this later still amazes me.

Watching my children grown is one great “awe” moment. Many things get lost in the day-to-day struggle to keep things in order in a fast paced world. I often hear “they grow up so fast.” The truth is they all grow up a the same pace. The speed we experience their growth is up to the parent.  By focusing on the little things each day one can actually slow down the experience they are having.  I know there are times my twenty-minute car ride with my four-year old seems to go by in a flash and other times it’s seems like a whole day. When we are engaged in conversation and talking of thing we see on the road it’s a period of true connection. When two people are connected in a relationship wether it be parent-child, husband-wife, or best friend to best friend the little things create an engaging experience that seems to slow down time.

Each day I try to remember that this day with my kids will be the only one of its kind we will ever have. Even just a simple hug held for a second longer or an extra “I love you” can make the day that much better. The last four years have flown by and also seem to have always been. My existence as a dad may have been short to this point in days, however my experience as a father seems to have outlived my previous 28 years.  Every day we have a chance to experience life to its fullest with the simplest of choices – embrace the little things or chase the big moments. If you catch a big moment you have a few great memories in your life. If you embrace the little ones you have thousands along with the big moments.

Till next time – embrace the little things and the little ones.

Joseph Cortez

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