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Success in real estate starts with making sure you have the right mindset. You need to be driven. Confident. Outgoing. Persuasive. Comfortable with risk. And maybe most importantly of all, you need to have boatloads of determination, because there will be plenty of bumps in the road.

It’s no surprise that in addition to real estate professionals, all these characteristics are typical of entrepreneurs as well. Which makes sense, as real estate is not a typical 9-5 profession. In terms of day-to-day tasks, it’s far closer to entrepreneurship. Both positions require wearing many hats, juggling multiple complex tasks at once, and a way-above-average energy level.

With that in mind, it makes sense to assume that real estate professionals—given their depth of knowledge about the housing market, facility with financials, and Type A personality traits—would all be Broker/Owners or Real Estate Investors-in-training. It certainly makes sense. On paper, it’s a natural fit.

But sadly, that’s not often the case.

Leading real estate blogger, podcaster, investor, and influencer Jason Hartman pointed out that all too often, fear gets in the way. “Lack of confidence and a fear of risking limited finances can stop a new investor before she even gets started. Credit issues, not knowing where to get funding for a purchase, and uncertainty about the future also add concerns that keep women out of real estate investing.”

He goes on to list a few action steps for overcoming this hesitancy:

  • Define your goals.
  • Identify ways to overcome potential obstacles, such as funding
  • Create a realistic picture of what is truly attainable.
  • Build your confidence by gaining knowledge of your market, and the industry as a whole

Ultimately, the most effective model for overcoming this hesitancy is knowledge and preparation.

Fortunately, we live in a time where information and knowledge flow like water. As for the preparation part…you’re a real estate pro. Hard work doesn’t scare you.


Real Estate Entrepreneurship in 2021

The real estate site The Close recently published a fascinating guide to How to Start a Real Estate Brokerage in 2021, which is a must-read for real estate entrepreneurs, whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned pro.

It touches on all the details you’ll need to be successful, from finding your MVV (Mission, Vision & Values) statement, through getting the proper licensure, to financing, franchising vs independent, and a whole lot more.

One very interesting aspect of the article is something that would have been considered unthinkable just a few short years ago. It’s the idea of building a Virtual Real Estate office. But as we’ve learned all too well in the past years, virtual workplaces are here to stay—even in an industry as “hands-on” as ours.

One big upside of virtual brokerages for entrepreneurs-in-training: cost. Virtual is significantly less expensive for the obvious reasons—you’re not paying rent on a facility. The article says: If you want to go virtual, then you can cross off rent as an expense and possibly offer better splits and get more talented agents. On the other hand, renting a nice local office goes a long way toward establishing trust with your potential clients.

This is a game-changer for those of us who want to become real estate entrepreneurs, but are concerned about the costs. While building your own business will never be cheap, technology has made it far more affordable to start and recruit for your own brokerage. It is an option well worth considering.


Real Estate Entrepreneurship Q and A 

Studies show that women supporting women can help amplify our success. So, in this spirit we would like to share tips from across our network for those seeking inspiration to get started exploring the goals of entrepreneurship, or growing wealth through real estate investing.

One of our goals at What Moves Her is to work to close the gender gap for ownership of real estate businesses. We’ve asked women in our industry to share their advice for female real estate entrepreneurs and overcoming financial adversity.


Laurie Cadigan, Owner & CEO, Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty

Q: What steps did you take to get to a place where you could launch your own brokerage/business or invest in real estate?

Laurie: After years of successfully managing brokerages for other companies, I was offered an opportunity to buy the independent brokerage where I worked. The 25 years of experience as a Realtor, loan officer, sales manager, and then VP of Sales in both mortgage lending and residential real estate allowed me to take advantage of the opportunity to own my own brokerage. I had worked for several brands over the years and every position added significant expertise and experience.


Q: What is the most valuable piece of advice you would give to someone looking to step into real estate entrepreneurship?

Laurie: Be patient and persistent. Opportunities occasionally present themselves, but I found that I had to seek out opportunities. Be aware of industry trends and movement. Be visible to those in the industry, in your company, in your community, and in the Realtor association. Leaders seek out good leaders, so it helps to be noticeable and noteworthy.


Q: What has your biggest challenge been financially? How did you overcome it?

Laurie: My biggest financial challenge was finding a way to fund the purchase of the independent brokerage I was offered. After 20 years of successful management, the strong long-term financial track record of the business, and my own lending relationships, I was disappointed that I could not find institutional financing for a “service” business. Let down by the SBA and my local community lenders, the owner and I found a creative solution. I often wonder if it had something to do with the fact that I was a woman owned business. I believe the options are better but not perfect for financing now 15 years later.




Peggy Clemente, Real Estate Broker, CENTURY 21 Keystone Realty

Q: What steps did you take to get to a place where you could launch your own brokerage/business or invest in real estate?

Peggy: Shortly after I became a Florida licensed realtor back in 2003, I knew I wanted to expand my business and invest in real estate.  In 2008, I had the opportunity to work with investors, not knowing this would lead me to become a real estate investor. At that time, I was working with a foreclosure attorney who helped families avoid foreclosure or would sell their property through a “Short Sale”. I would sell this inventory to my investor at a time when both prices and commissions were very low. Between the different fees and other expenses, I was left working a lot and having almost no money left – I needed to find a way to make it worth my time and effort. I flew to the Dominican Republic to meet with an investor and present my project. I asked them to become my business partner, showed them how I was flipping properties and the value it represented. The very next week, I had cash in my bank account, negotiated a great price with the bank, listed the home – making a commission on both sides – and even negotiated relocation cash for the sellers with no deficiencies on their loss. Once the property was under my name, I hired a general contractor, rehabbed the property and listed it at a new price. I had made my first profit as an investor and used the commission and profit to immediately move forward to the next project. Today, I keep the properties as rentals and make profits through both the equity earned and the rent collected.


Q: What is the most valuable piece of advice you would give to someone looking to step into real estate entrepreneurship?

Peggy: Be determined. Make a decision and stay committed no matter what. Entrepreneurship comes with many challenges; persistence and keeping yourself updated is key. Having mentors and role models is also extremely important. As we are building our businesses, we need to invest in ourselves and our business, so having a business plan is crucial. Always keep savings for a rainy day and find services and products that will improve the client experience. As entrepreneurs, we often find ourselves working 24/7. While we do need to make time to work on our business, we also need to set aside time to disconnect. This will help us to be more successful, believe it or not.


Q: What has your biggest challenge been financially? How did you overcome it?

Peggy: After having a full-time job as a Senior Loan closer for a local bank, I was laid off. Soon enough, I was hired by another bank, but had been recently divorced and supporting two teenagers. I made the decision to quit my new job and pursue a full-time career as a real estate professional. Without a steady income, I sold my house and rented a less expensive home with another single mother. I also sold my car and with the equity and savings, purchased a car with cash. I invested in myself to improve my skills and become a better real estate professional.   Getting rid of so many financial responsibilities helped me get back on my feet, and with this I learned to make the most of the money I had and spend as little as possible.



Debbie Blankfort, Broker/Owner, Corcoran Baer & McIntosh

Q: What steps did you take to get to a place where you could launch your own brokerage/business or invest in real estate?

After many years spent in the automobile business with my husband, I decided to part from autos and follow a more passionate endeavor, real estate with my ideal brokerage in Nyack, NY: Baer & McIntosh, a river town #1 boutique, owned by Jo Baer. Between my business instincts and passion for homes and helping people navigate the real estate world, I became top producer and found myself as a gentle leader of the office- it happened organically. I opened a second office, partnering with Jo Baer with the understanding that when she retired, I would purchase the brokerage… which I did.


Q: What is the most valuable piece of advice you would give to someone looking to step into real estate entrepreneurship?

I suppose, as in any business, when you think about it, business is about relationships and building trust. Trust and knowledge are key, and I feel that is what brings about success. That is what I preach.


Q: What has your biggest challenge been financially? How did you overcome it?  

Building strong business and personal relationships with my real estate associates was an awesome experience. I found myself not only helping my clients with their real estate needs, but at the same time assisting my co-workers to reach their success. But shortly after purchasing the brokerage, almost the entire roster agents departed the company and I found myself rebuilding from scratch. Calling that a challenge was an understatement at the time. There was no secret formula or magic, instead it was a constant focus on rebuilding, one agent at a time. One agent remained who was part of B & M prior to my arrival and is here to date.  Together, we continued onward.  B & M had a legendary reputation as a Rivertown boutique, so now it was time to rebuild, in fact better than what it was. Looking back, that road was difficult, yet as difficult as it was, that is how rewarding it is today.


Now It’s Your Turn

What’s the best entrepreneurship advice you’ve ever received?  What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome to get where you are today? Let us know. Email us at or share with us on Facebook or LinkedIn – we want to hear your thoughts.

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