Serial real estate entrepreneur Michael McClure talks about the profession today, “raising the bar” of ethics and the “brilliant people” he surrounds himself with.
Michael McClure is the CEO of VerifiedAgent.com, real estate’s first verification concept, which he co-founded in 2011. He is also President & CEO of Professional One Real Estate, named one of the most “Creative Brands of the Past Decade” in the 2011 Swanepoel Trends Report and a “Beta Brokerage of the Future” at Inman Real Estate Connect San Francisco in 2010. He has been named one of Inman’s “50 Most Influential Online” and one of Proxio.com’s “25 Most Connected.” He blogs for Inman NEXT, P1Fran.com and Dale Carnegie.
McClure co-founded RaiseTheBar Radio, which focuses on increasing professionalism in real estate. He also founded the “Raise the Bar in Real Estate” Facebook group, which boasts over 500 members. McClure has spoken at many industry events, including Inman Connects NY & SF, the Agent Reboot Tour, NARdiGras, RETechSouth and Xplode, and is one of the highest rated public speakers on several popular topics (according to SpeakerMix.com). He is a CPA, and worked at Price Waterhouse for 10 years before entering real estate. He received a degree in Accounting from Michigan State and lives in suburban Detroit.
Seth Price of Placester caught up with Michael to get his insights on technology, his latest venture, and how he gets so much done.
Without passion, it’s impossible to execute, because there’s just too much work, blood, sweat, tears, money and time involved in doing anything original and truly worthwhile.
Placester: What are you working on right now?
Michael McClure: As always, a whole slew of current and future projects. My number one priority for the foreseeable future is VerifiedAgent.com, which we launched on 11-11-11. But I always have many irons in the fire, as lots of ideas take literally years to fully develop into commercially viable concepts.
P: What does your typical day look like?
MM: I’m truly the workaholic’s workaholic, and–fortunately for me–my work is my passion, my hobby and my fun. I get up and, in a typical day, spend the next 12 to 14 hours toggling between Basecamp (where all my projects live), Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, YouTube, Final Cut Pro X, Voxer and Google+. I work seven days a week and just do the best I can to push the ball down the proverbial field each and every day. I feel truly blessed that I enjoy what I do so much.
P: What is the worst job you ever had and what did you learn?
MM: I worked literally one day as a busboy in a diner when I was 16 years old. The things I learned? I wouldn’t want to share that publicly. Let’s just say I never ate there again. I also learned I had no interest in ever being a part of that industry.
The quality people in real estate deserve a better working environment, and the public absolutely deserves better than what they have received from our industry historically.
P: Three real estate trends that excite you?
- Content curation
- Optimizing online reputation
- Raising the bar of professionalism
- And video.
Sorry, I know you said three, but I can’t ignore any of those four.
P: How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
MM: We don’t really have any. No other company does exactly what we do at VerifiedAgent.com. That’s why we created the company: because we couldn’t find anyone else doing what we saw as an obvious value-add in the real estate industry. As we were just named a “genius brand to watch in 2012” yesterday by AGBeat.com, we feel that’s a little bit of validation that we’re on the right track.
On Entering the Real Estate Business: Really understand what you’re getting into before you decide to do it. It’s so much different at street level than most people realize.
P: How do you bring ideas to life?
MM: By doing only those things for which I truly have a passion. Without passion, it’s impossible to execute, because there’s just too much work, blood, sweat, tears, money and time involved in doing anything original and truly worthwhile. Also, I always get feedback from the handful of brilliant people I have in my life who are much smarter than I am and willing to share of their time, talents, opinions and perspectives. That kills a lot of marginal ideas before I ever invest too much time and energy developing them.
P: What inspires you?
MM: Collaborating with truly brilliant people and the desire to make things better in my industry. The quality people in real estate deserve a better working environment, and the public absolutely deserves better than what they have received from our industry historically. The real estate industry is poorly perceived with good reason (just Google “Harris Poll” or “Gallup Poll” and you’ll see what I mean). We need to change the way the public perceives real estate, and I am driven to create ways for quality professionals to gain the competitive advantage they so clearly deserve.
P: What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn?
MM: Turning down angel money on a prior idea that was nothing more than a dream at the time. I’m truly glad it worked out the way that it did–because I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now–but in retrospect, I was arrogant and foolish to reject what was truly a big chunk of money for little more than a concept on paper. I now realize that the investment offer was more than fair, and I probably should have taken it.
P:How do you measure success?
MM: By whether I’m still having fun and by whether I still have a burning desire to continue moving in a given direction. For me, it’s never about the money. It’s about loving what I do and doing what I truly feel is the right thing in my heart. I toiled in a great job making a lot of money in an industry that I did not enjoy for almost a decade. It’s cliche, but it is so true: money cannot buy you happiness. Once I got off of that gerbil wheel, I promised myself I would never again take a job purely because of the money. And, since that time, I’ve held true to that commitment. Doing what you love provides so much more satisfaction than the alternative.
P: What advice would you give to someone starting out in real estate today?
MM: REALLY understand what you’re getting into before you decide to do it. It’s so much different at street level than most people realize. I’ve been in it 21 years, and I’m still not used to it. I could write a book on what I mean by this. Maybe someday, I will. I’ll summarize by saying these things:
(1) you cannot succeed without a really strong work ethic
(2) the competition is insane
(3) it’s truly feast or famine, and
(4) consumers tend to treat real estate more as an emotional decision than a business decision.
And it’s that last item that will challenge you far more than you realize before you actually start doing the job.
P:What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
MM: The people that work the hardest often do the best. There really are no shortcuts to success. Sorry, I know that isn’t very original, but it’s absolutely true.
P: What do you read every day, and why?
MM: The Bible. Because faith is the foundation of every aspect of my life. I cannot imagine living without it…
P: What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
MM: “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. Because it’s so foundational, so fundamental and so important for EVERY business and EVERY person, no matter what you do or who you are. I cannot do the book justice in a short description. Here’s a link to several blog posts I’ve written on the topic: http://p1fran.com/tag/start-with-why/.
P: What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
MM: Three way tie: iPhone, MacBook Pro and Evernote. All three are indispensable for me.
P: Three people we should follow on Twitter, and why?
MM: Wow, there are so many that picking three is nearly impossible. But if I can ONLY choose three, I’d say (1) Chris Smith (@Chris_Smth), Inman News’ Chief Evangelist, (2) Matthew Shadbolt (@Corcoran_Group), Corcoran Group’s Director of Interactive and (3) and Jimmy Mackin (@JimmyMackin), the foremost Facebook expert I know. Why? Because all three are on the cutting edge, smart and trend setters. I learn something from one, both or all three of these guys every single day.
P: What real estate expert would you love to see us interview?
MM: Matthew Shadbolt. He’s an amazing talent. Also, Jimmy Mackin. Same thing.
P: When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
MM: Five minutes ago. My dog. He’s just inherently hilarious.
P: Name of your organization?
P: How can people connect with you?
P: Where are you located?
MM: Plymouth, Michigan.