You were a successful real estate salesperson here in the Comox Valley, what made you decide to go into the world of coaching singles?
Well, the first step to making a career change is to fully burn yourself out on your old career! Just kidding, that’s the last thing anyone should do, but for me that’s what happened. After years of eighty plus hour work weeks, my body started shutting down. It’s a long story, but it took several years after leaving real estate to get enough energy to do anything.
When I finally recovered a bit, I thought I was going to be a best selling author. I lackadaisically pursued writing for awhile and wrote and published a memoir, but I realized that you don’t just get to write a book and become a best-seller without a lot of self-promo. Although I was great at promoting and marketing my clients’ [real estate] properties, I pretty much suck at self promo.
After travelling for awhile, I eventually moved to Vancouver. I went on a few dating sites and discovered that most of the profiles were terrible. I decided to help guys rewrite their profiles. Then I met a few men and realized that they needed more than a profile rewrite.
But they also had complaints about women’s profiles and women’s dating behaviour.
I’ve been interested in psychology and relationships since I was a teenager but even with all that study, I messed up my own relationships. After my divorce ten years ago, I figured out that I was the common denominator. I ventured into a long process of learning above love, relationships and self.
I’m not an accredited professional, but I have figured out a few things. I knew I was on the right track with this new career giving dating advice when I got an email from a past real estate client out of the blue thanking me for some relationship advice I’d given him many years ago that helped him have better relationships and as a result “[he] got married.” It was so long ago that I don’t remember what I told him—in fact, I don’t even remember telling him anything.
It seems your career choice evolved quite a bit from wanting to be an author to becoming a dating coach. What can you tell people thinking about a career change that might save them time discovering what they should be doing next?
Figure out what you love and what you know a lot about—or have always wanted to know a lot about— and then what you’re good at. Don’t fixate on how to make it happen or how to make money at it, that’ll come. Fear of failure keeps us from trying.
What about people who have commitments or obligations, like family or staff?
Don’t run away from something that isn’t working. I did that with real estate. I was doing well at it (real estate), but ended up taking a fairly sudden departure because I was so burnt out. Run to something, not away from.
If you’re starting to feel ready for a change then put together an exit strategy. In fact, no matter what business we go into, start with a build-up-the-biz plan and a back-out-of-the-biz strategy.
You may want to stay in that business forever, but if not then you’ve got the plan ready to exit if you no longer love that career or if an even better opportunity comes along. Having an exit strategy isn’t planning to fail, it’s planning to succeed by positioning the business to where someone else can step in and take over or be able to sell it.
Having an exit strategy protects your family and staff for when you are ready to try something new.
Did you have an exit strategy when you left real estate?
Honestly, I had nothing formal planned, but when I acknowledged that I was getting tired I started handing over more and more day-to-day activities to my team. I’d trained them from the get-go so as our business model evolved, so they evolved with it.
How important is it to get a good team together?
Imperative! We can’t do an exceptional job for our clients and grow our business if we’re control freaks who need to do it all. I learned that the first 10 years.
Make sure the people on your team have the same business ethics, goals and commitment to the direction of the business that you do. You’ve got to be able to trust your team with the small things and the bigger vision.
And don’t be afraid to train someone who’s got those values-aligned traits but who is lacking in the technical skills. Richard Verrier and Andrena Koch-Schulte both started with my [real estate] team fresh out of the brokerage course. Look where they are now—not because of me—but because they came into real estate with heart, strong work ethics and integrity.
The team you choose can also be an essential part of the exit strategy. They’ll know the business and be in a position to be able to take over should the time come.
Any closing comments that might help business owners or potential owners be successful?
Yes! Have a plan, but know that your plan will change—a lot!
And, define your own success. Success doesn’t have to mean making a shit ton of money. It can mean time freedom. It can mean valued community contribution. It can mean collaboration with “competitors.” Try to set ego aside and do it for the love of it.
Where can people find you if they want to catch up with what you’re doing now?