Motivational powerhouse Jared James talks about measuring success, breaking patterns, and finding your unique DNA.
As a Realtor, Jared James built one of the largest and fastest-growing teams in the country; was inducted into the International Hall of Fame for the world’s largest real estate company; wrote a best-selling book; and was voted #1 Realtor in the USA under the age of 30 by the over 2 million readers of REALTOR Magazine.
Today, Jared’s the founder and CEO of his own company, Jared James Enterprises. His gift and obsession for finding the “why” of just about everything we do have made him one of the most in-demand speakers in North America, particularly among small businesses, salespeople, and entrepreneurs.
In addition to keynoting events for some of the largest organizations in the world, he runs regular webinars and training sessions for nationally known organizations like the NAR, CRS, Yahoo Real Estate, Trulia and Zillow Academy. He also blogs regularly for REALTOR Magazine and Inman Next.
Seth Price of Placester caught up with Jared to get his views on technology, trends, and what it takes to ask the right questions.
Placester: What are you working on right now?
Jared James: Right now I’m in the middle of writing a new book that I’m thinking of titling, “What’s the Difference?” It’s going to focus on why some people flourish while others flounder, even when they come from very similar surroundings. I’m also spending time in the studio creating a new 7-day CD/MP3 program on how to get to greater levels of success that takes into account the tangible techniques, as well as the psychological perspective.
P: What does your typical day look like?
JJ: Because I travel so much, I don’t get many typical days. Many times during the week, I’m on my way to an airport or going onstage. When I’m home during the week, I drop my sons off at school and head into the office. I try to spend the first hour catching up on social media messages and responding to people. From there, I could be on conference calls with event coordinators, doing interviews, writing or shooting videos for my blog. I always make time to go the gym in the middle of my day. I’m also constantly networking and creating new agreements with people and other businesses that will benefit JJE and the people that follow my company. It all depends, and almost every day is different. That is what I like about it.
P: What is the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
JJ: I’ve had jobs you would think would be the worst, but I’ve never been bothered by manual labor. The one that sticks out in my mind, though, is a job I had when I was 16. I had three jobs at the time, and one of them was as an odd-jobs person doing just about everything. One thing I hate to do is paint, and my job for this particular week was to paint all of these rusty poles and signs outside of this seafood restaurant. It was so monotonous! I hated it! I don’t like being bored or feeling like what I’m doing doesn’t matter. One of the seven basic needs of people is “the need to matter.” That couldn’t have been more true for me than at that point, when I was painting rusty poles.
P: Three real estate trends that excite you?
JJ: 1) I saw a stat the other day that thanks to social media, the world has gone from a place where six degrees of separation existed, meaning that everyone knows everyone within six different relationships, to only four degrees of separation. I like that more and more Realtors are getting involved with social media, and finding that there actually can be an ROI. It’s allowing the world to become smaller and smaller.
2) I’m seeing a focus by brokers and large companies to at least make an effort to be more inviting to younger agents. With the average age of a Realtor at 56 years old, many of the leaders of today’s growing companies have recognized that recruiting and retaining younger agents has become a necessity if they’re going to thrive going forward.
3) Many people look at shadow inventory and think of it as a negative, but I think it’s all perspective. The Realtors who are smart about it are going to have a great opportunity, either for themselves or for their clients, to make a lot of money in the next few years with the amount of foreclosures hitting the market. This is their chance to create relationships with quality investors, or buy cash flow properties or flips themselves.
The problem with trying to be everything to everyone is that you are in competition with everyone else as well.
P: How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
JJ: It’s truly not that difficult. There’s a natural differentiation just by the fact of my age. The other way I try to differentiate myself is by simply being myself. Too many people, whether they are a sales person or speaker, tend to act how they think a “Realtor” is supposed to act like and talk how a “Realtor” is supposed to talk. The truth is that everyone was created with unique DNA, and to deny or hide that uniqueness is to do yourself a disservice.
The problem with trying to be everything to everyone is that you are in competition with everyone else as well. But when you finally feel the freedom to be yourself, you’ll find that there is a specific market that will be attracted to what you offer, and there won’t be any competition. This is also what helps people remember me years down the road, because I’m not a cookie-cutter version of what a speaker/trainer should be. I’m just me.
P: You had a lot of success when you were a top-producing agent. What prompted the transition to your current endeavor?
JJ: I never intended to get into speaking. This career grew out of demand. After the accolades, the book, people just started asking me to speak without knowing if I could speak or not. For a while, I was living a double life. I was still selling real estate, and I loved the thrill of the deal. With the speaking, I was seeing my audience respond in ways I hadn’t imagined. There is something about having the ability to impact someone’s life. I’m the “why” guy. I understand why people do what they do. If I can teach someone to understand why they do the things they do, their growth is unparalleled. That’s immensely rewarding for me and for them. So ultimately I made the decision to switch. I did what I was supposed to do.
P: How do you bring ideas to life?
JJ: I have a lot of ideas that keep me up at night, but usually I will run my good ones by the people closest to me and have them criticize them. I do this because I want to see if my ideas hold up under fire. I want to see if I can defend them to the end, and still have them make sense to me. If I can’t, they aren’t worth spending my time on. If an idea passes this initial test, then very simply, I put together what is needed to launch it and I launch. From there, I wait to see if there is any fruit once the idea is presented to the public. If my followers jump, then it was a good idea. If they don’t, then it either wasn’t a good idea and needs to be dropped, or it needs to be tweaked a little before it is reintroduced.
P: What inspires you?
JJ: I am inspired by many things. A good movie or book can inspire me, but in the end, I guess I am inspired by people. I posted a picture to Facebook a while ago of a kid, who couldn’t have been more than 4 years old, with two prosthetic legs finishing a race with a huge smile on his face. That inspired me. I find myself particularly interested in biographies about people who have achieved great things. I’m always looking for the common denominator among these people. I believe that life is the ultimate equalizer. It doesn’t care about your background or anything else. It is the culmination of the decisions and patterns you choose to master, and I am inspired by people that have done it well.
P: What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
JJ: I can remember developing a product simply because I thought it would sell well, and not because I believed in it. This is something that I will never do again.
P: It seems like everyone agrees that real estate education needs help. What is the problem?
JJ: If you’re trying to get someone to follow a certain set of patterns, you can train them all day. But you haven’t fixed anything: you’ve just pointed out the obvious. If you change the patterns, you change the results. It has to do with neuro-associations. We neurologically associate pleasure or pain with everything we do. Eating, exercise, relationships, success, failure. It’s important to ask questions. What are the tools, tangibles and patterns we have the follow? More importantly, why aren’t we doing those things we say we want to do? What are the associations that we have to those things? We have to get to the root of the problem. Who are you, and what do you actually want? How do you make associations that match who you really are?
I believe that successful people understand the quality of time, not just the quantity of time.
P: How do you measure success?
JJ: To me, success has many layers. If I make a lot of money, but my kids don’t feel like I’m the best dad in the world, am I successful? I don’t think so. One of the great equalizers in this world is time. It doesn’t matter if you are the president of the United States, we all get the same amount of time in the day. I believe that successful people understand the quality of time, not just the quantity of time.
While success can be measured on some level by the amount of money you make, it is not the only measurement. I know people making a lot of money who are horribly unsuccessful in the rest of their life. This is why success has to be measured differently for each individual. Try telling someone making $40,000/year who is able to coach their kid’s little league team that they aren’t successful, if that is truly what they want for their life.
Personally, I’ve always said that I wanted to be a greater husband and father than I was a businessperson. That doesn’t mean that I have to be a bad businessperson: it just means that I have to be an even greater husband and father. It also doesn’t always mean that I will hit the mark. But I think just the fact that I try makes me successful.
P: What advice would you give to someone starting out in real estate today?
JJ: Don’t buy into the notion that many new agents buy into: that you’re going to grow your business effectively by sitting behind a computer all day. I’m all for today’s technology, but this business is the same that it was 30 years ago. It is about shaking hands and kissing babies. You have to get out of your office and create conversations with people. It takes 41 real estate-related conversations to create one new transaction. You are not going to create these conversations within your community by sitting behind your desk all day.
Today’s technologies are here to make us more efficient, but they do not take the place of face-to-face interaction.
P: How do you see technology shaping the business of real estate in the future?
JJ: I see technology continuing to do what it is already doing: making Realtors more efficient at what they do, freeing them up to create and cultivate real relationships with buyers and sellers. The days of managing files in the office are over.
I also expect technology to continue making it easier for consumers to have more access to data than ever before. This is a good thing for Realtors because by the time they are dealing with potential prospects, those buyers/sellers are more educated than they have ever been, and in many cases, they’ve already sifted through the neighborhoods and houses that they are not interested in. Now, people are reaching out to a Realtor once they are ready to make a decision. This eliminates the amount of time that has to be spent by a Realtor from initial contact to closing.
Technology also makes communication easier and more transparent between agents and their clients. In today’s world, with the right program, an agent can give their client a username and password and allow them access to their transaction online, seeing all of the updates, documents, and correspondence between all the parties involved in the transaction.
P: What do you read every day, and why?
JJ: I pay attention to social media conversations and then respond to the engaging ones. It allows me to stay connected with people in a way that 10 years ago would have been impossible. I also read the newspaper and various blogs and magazines because, the way my mind works, I will get one idea from something I read that will turn into pages and pages of content for me.
P: What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
JJ: I don’t have one book that I recommend. Most of the self help books say the same thing, so once you get it, you get it. I would recommend that people read biographies. I finished Ted Turner’s, and am in the middle of Steve Jobs’ at the moment. Donald Trump’s first book, “The Art of the Deal,” has remained one of my favorites as well because of the amount of detail it goes into on many of his early deals.
P: What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
JJ: The obvious answer is my iPhone, but I really like my Key Ring app, which has all of the barcodes for cards that would usually go on my key ring. Things like my gym card and grocery store card. Now I don’t have to have 8 different bar code cards on my key ring. I am also constantly on my travel apps.
P: Three people we should follow on Twitter, and why?
JJ: I like @forbes, @Entmagazine, and @thenextweb. I like the content that comes out of these sources. I enjoy reading entrepreneurial articles and how they relate to business and people as a whole. These three tend to post some good articles, facts and blogs.
P: When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
JJ: That’s easy. I laugh out loud what seems like every day. I am a fun guy that has kids and my kids are hilarious! Both of my sons, ages 5 and 3, tend to talk a lot with their hands and it cracks me up. I also saw a picture today of a fitness building with people taking the escalator up to the entrance instead of the stairs. I thought that was pretty funny.
P: Name of your organization?
JJ: Jared James Enterprises.