Have you dreamed of starting a new business but can’t imagine how in the world you’d fit that into your already-packed family schedule? Love the idea of getting your significant other involved in your venture, so you can tackle the world together—power-couple style?
It CAN be done… and today’s guest is passionate about sharing how, with the right approach, you can even get the kids on board, too!
In this engaging episode, BiggerPockets Business Podcast host J Scott interviews his wife and co-host Carol Scott, as she launches a brand new business. Carol shares her expertise in leveraging the successes you’ve had in your personal and work life to create a company that generates income while prioritizing—and not compromising—your responsibilities at home.
Carol also provides actionable tips on creative hiring from the get-go to put together an impactful team that can help drive your vision. She also discusses the power in telling everyone you know, loud and clear, about what you’re doing.
Together, Carol and J teach how to instill values of collaborative entrepreneurship in the family and the crucial importance of a dedicated workspace to help shift mindsets, support one another, and make progress toward your goals.
And if you’re hung up on the expectation of perfectionism and doing it all, make sure you listen to Carol’s often-controversial take on how to overcome that unattainable, society-driven notion!
Enjoy, and subscribe to the BiggerPockets Business Podcast to continue learning throughout 2020 and beyond. Happy Holidays!
J: Welcome to the BiggerPockets Business Podcast show number 35.
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Carol: I adore my children and you know this. I adore them and I want to be there for them and I have been with them. I’ve never missed a game. I’ve never missed them getting off the bus. Oh my gosh, I’m actually tearing up. It’s been wonderful that I’ve been able to maintain the priority of our families.
J: Welcome to a Real World MBA from the School of Hard Knocks where entrepreneurs reveal what it really takes to make it. Whether you’re already in business or you’re on your way there. This show is for you. This is BiggerPockets Business. How’s it going everybody? I am J. Scott. I am your cohost for the BiggerPockets Business Podcast, and I am here again this week with my amazing wife and cohost Carol Scott. How are you doing today Carol?
Carol: Doing so well. Happy Christmas eve, everybody. What a great day?
J: It is, it is. So everybody, we have a fantastic show today, and our guest today is somebody that you know well. It’s actually the woman sitting across from me. Well, I guess not really across from me, but across the video from me. So, Carol Scott, she is going to tell us a little bit about her backstory and about a new business that she is starting in 2020. So, for everybody out there that has wondered a little bit about the host of the show, Mrs. Scott.
J: We’re going to find out more about her, we’re going to find out about what she’s planing to do, and she’s got some amazing tips because she has learned a tremendous amount over the last 10 years that we’ve been working together leading up to this new business of hers. So, this is going to be a great episode and I’m really looking forward to it. Carol, are you ready to chat with us?
Carol: I’m so ready, and I’m really, really, really looking forward to this because like you said, it’s a new business and I think this is living proof that anybody out there can do it. You just have to learn from good people, surround yourself with the right people and put an actionable plan in place and do it. So I’m really looking forward to chatting with everybody.
J: Excellent. Now, for anybody that wants to find out more about this show and find the links to the things that we discuss, check out our show notes at biggerpockets.com/bizshow35. Again, that’s biggerpockets.com/bizshow35. Now, without any further ado, let’s start talking Mrs. Scott. You ready?
Carol: I’m so ready, got to be honest to everyone. This is a little weird, right? J and I are usually doing the interviewing, so to be interviewed is all whole new mindset shift and I love it. Got to be honest. It’s pretty fun.
J: Awesome. Okay. I think a lot of our listeners out there have a little bit of an idea of your backstory. We’ve been working together for 10 years, but how about your back, back story? Take us through like where you started and where your career took you and what we’ve been doing together the last 10 years. How you became the host of the BiggerPockets Business Podcast, everything leading up to the great story that we’re going to tell about your new business in 2020.
Carol: Awesome, that sounds like a great plan. So here’s the deal, growing up, just like so many other people, it was always work hard, get straight A’s, go to college, get a good job, make a lot of money, figure out how to have kids while you’re making a lot of money and do it all. Right? So, I always was just that way. I worked really, really, really hard. I had the straight A’s, I did all the extra curriculars, I was always doing interestingly, little entrepreneurial things in retrospect, I didn’t even realize it until many years later that, that’s how this all started.
Carol: But after college, right off the bat, I was really fortunate in that I started working at a big company, doing marketing and doing employee engagement, corporate communications, those types of things. Right off the bat I was traveling around the world, I was put in touch with a lot of C-level people, and I did that type of work for the next 15 years. I worked really, really hard, I prioritized work, I prioritized making money, I prioritized my career, and all along the way, I realized I am doing so, so, so much for so many other people. I loved it, it was a lot of fun. I worked for big companies like Franklin Covey for example. There are the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People company.
Carol: I worked for eBay, I worked for Mattel, and in each one of those, I was responsible for building out teams to do new initiatives within the new company, and that was always really my favorite thing to do. Right? In these different companies, there would be new initiatives or new divisions that were just starting. They would interestingly …. again, in retrospect, it’s interesting to look at the pattern. I would go in and my responsibility was to build out that new initiative, was to hire all the people to build out that team.
Carol: It was really fun specifically because being within those big companies, you had the resources of big companies, you had the ability to hire a lot of people, you had the capital to be able to put that stuff to work for you. Yet there was still a lot wild West atmosphere feeling, right? You have the latitude to do whatever the heck it was you wanted that was the right thing within the structure of the bigger organization. So, it was a really fun time, but it was also a ton of work. With a lot of different companies, I learned a lot along the way. Back in, what was it? 2008? My gosh, we’re going on 12 years now, which is really unbelievable.
Carol: Obviously, you know this J, you I met when we were working at eBay, and we met at work and we would high five each other in the hallways. I was off to the airport, going to some corporate jet to fly to some random country. You’d be coming back from somewhere, and when we decided to get married and have kids, we said this is absolutely not sustainable. We’ve got to do something that will let us be with our kids when we actually have them and we have a great family life and not just focus on work all the time. That’s when we started our investing career. We’ve done that over the past decade, and as much as I’ve absolutely loved, loved, loved being 100% priority, being a mom, I also missed doing some of the work stuff. Right?
Carol: So, it’s been a challenge over the past several years. I adore my children and you know this, I adore them and I want to be there for them, and I have been with them 24/seven all of these years and we’ve hired assistance along the way, we’ve hired amazing mothers, helpers to be with us. I can proudly say, ah, I’m getting teary. I’ve never missed a game, I’ve never missed them getting off the bus. Oh my gosh, I’m actually tearing up. Yeah, it’s been wonderful that we’ve had the opportunity with doing this, that I’ve been able to maintain the priority of our families.
Carol: So it’s really good, and it’s also though, now that it’s 2020, and some things have changed in our world, I’m also looking forward to a new business venture that’s really my own, I love working with you obviously, but it’s fun that I’m doing something, taking everything I’ve learned in our pre-investing world as well as all the things we’ve learned over the past 10 years of investing, and start putting all those things to work to start something new. So, that’s a very long story in a nutshell.
J: Awesome. Okay. So, the takeaway there though is last 10 years you've of been a stay at home mom. The funny thing is, I know you talk about being a stay at home mom, but you've been absolutely instrumental in the business that we've built. I know I've been more of the face of the business the past 10 years, and everybody thinks J. Scott is the house flipping guy and the investing guy. But I think what they don't realize is you've done 90% of the work behind the scenes and I just take all the credit. So I think that's interesting that you think of yourself as kind of ready to jump back into business. Though, I think of you as being the important part of our business for the past 10 years.
Carol: I appreciate that. I just interrupted you and I apologize for interrupting, but thank you so much for saying that. I do want to clarify something you just said. The reality is so … and yes I do appreciate that and I know I have worked really hard, we’ve worked alongside each other, but it all goes back to for all of you entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs out there, again, it’s just identifying what your priorities are. Right? So J’s priority is of course, he’s such an amazing part of our family. We all work together as a team in our family. When you separate work and when you separate home, I take the lead on home. J takes the lead on work.
Carol: In taking the lead on home, I don’t necessarily have the latitude to be out there doing speaking, be out there doing training, be out in front of people all the time because I’m back here, which I love and which is what I want to be doing. So, I just think that’s a really great thing for all of our listeners to remember that, as long as you prioritize correctly and you keep those priorities in check all the time, you can work something out that works for your whole family.
J: Absolutely. Okay. So we’ve talked in vague terms so far about your new business venture. Can you tell us a little bit about specifically what is that new business that you’ll be launching, I guess this month and going into 2020?
Carol: Absolutely. I am launching a boutique real estate brokerage, so we buy and sell high end houses. But in addition to that, I didn’t want to have just another … I don’t just want to have just another real estate office. Right? Again, I want to take all of the things that I did in my previous life as well as all of the things that we’ve learned over the past 10 years, and I’m launching a new brokerage that buys and sells luxury real estate and inside there, there are also other services, if you will. So there’s a staging company within that. There is a market research company within that. There is a design studio within that, so it’s a big overall brokerage that does a whole lot more than just buy and sell houses.
J: Cool. So, lot to unpack now, you've been doing real estate for the past 10 years, you've been an agent, correct? You've had your license?
Carol: I’ve had my license forever, in several different States actually.
J: Yeah. So you've done the real estate agent thing for a long time. What made you decide that you want to go from just being a real estate agent for our business, for the most part, you've just been buying and selling houses for the two of us, hundreds of houses, but just for the two of us over the last 10 years, what made you decide now you want to start buying and selling or helping other people buy and sell houses professionally?
Carol: That’s a really great question and here’s the answer to that question. So, I absolutely love the buying and selling for us. That said, I realized if I were just going to be a typical real estate agent, right? Two things, number one, it goes against everything we teach about working on your business versus working in your business, right? So if I were to go ahead and be just a typical real estate agent with another brokerage, for example, that really goes against all of these things we talk about as far as being able to get the kids off the bus every day. I’d have to realistically be working nights, be working weekends, and that really just isn’t conducive to this whole being able to do all of these different things with our family at the same time, and so that’s one of the reasons I decided to start a brokerage.
Carol: The second is, I really wanted to leverage the credibility in the influence and really specifically the brand recognition that we've built over all of these years. So, it would've been really easy to go with Keller Williams, which is a phenomenal company, Caldwell, Engel & Völkers, whoever with any of these great other brokerages. That said, I thought there was a whole lot to be gained from the fact that we've built up all of these other things in the real estate space over all of these years and it made a whole lot of sense to leverage them.
J: Got it. Okay. So, you mentioned like going into Keller Williams or some other big brokerage, you’d just be buying and selling. So it sounds like you want to do more than just buying and selling at this point?
Carol: Absolutely, buying and selling, although I love it and it’s a lot of fun. Truly that’s not where my passion is. Right? You know this is part of our business over the past several years, in my previous life, I was all about marketing, I was all about branding. There was a lot of corporate communications and executive communications and employee engagement built into all of those things. Growing up, I was an artist, I was always drawing and making signs and doing really visual things, right? So, those are the things that truly, really bring me energy.
Carol: Over the past 10 years in our business, along with the sales and marketing, I’ve always been the person to go in and design what the next 50 houses are going to look like, for example. Right? Then making sure that gets executed. So just doing a traditional buying and selling, it’s not something that I’m frankly that passionate about. That’s why I decided to build out the brokerage so that we can do all of those other segments of the things, that number one will be valuable for the clients and number two will continue to energize me. So I think that’s really important to remember as an entrepreneur. Again, whether you’re new, whether you’ve been doing this for a while, as you define what your business is going to be looking like, make sure that there are components in there that really energize you.
Carol: It would be frankly, really, really easy to say, “No, I’m just going to be a traditional real estate agent.” 3% commission on a $3 million house over and over, and there are plenty of them right down there on the water. That’s just a lot of money coming in, right? But frankly, is that going to be what drives me and what excites me every day? No, not at all. I get really bored and burnt out quickly. I think a lot of entrepreneurs fall into that. They look at what is the opportunity out there that could potentially make me the most money without looking at what will it be that will truly keep you motivated and engaged on a daily basis.
J: Got it. I know the answer to this question, but for our listeners, I mean, you talked a lot about … You like being a stay at home mom, you like putting the family first. But as a real estate agent, as a real estate broker that’s helping people buy and sell houses, that’s a 24/seven job. I mean, a lot of the work is on weekends, a lot of work is in the evenings. I mean, that’s how being a real estate agent is. So how do you plan to juggle the putting family first, but still having a job that takes you away on weekends and evenings?
Carol: Sure. Well, my plan is frankly for the first couple months, there’s a couple of things. One of them is overall, I’d mentioned all those different parts of the business that we’re going to have within the business. So there’s the brokerage, which is the buying and selling. There’s the staging services, there’s the design studio, there’s the market research, and number one, I have already hired some people to run those different parts of those businesses. So working with partners who are experts that share in my vision. Okay? So we’ll talk more about that in a minute. I recommend everybody do that and we’ll talk more about that like I said in a second.
Carol: The other one is making sure that this business in what we’re doing is not a mystery to the kid, that’s getting the kids involved from day one, which by the way, coincidentally we’ve been doing that since … my goodness, since the very beginning, so I recommend that again to any entrepreneur out there, there’s this interesting, I think myth out there, especially with moms, especially women that you can do it all, you can have it all, you can be 100% work life balance and so on and so forth, and I will be the first person to say that, I just don’t feel like that’s reality. Somethings got to give somewhere, you can’t give 150% in every single one of those areas, so you have to realize that there are ways that you can compromise and all those different areas.
Carol: One way we’ve done that is to involve the kids from day one. I mean, there’s an infamous picture that J has out there in a lot of his presentations where our first son Chase was born in the end of 2009, and there’s this photo where I’m in a hospital bed looking just glorious, let me tell you, and there’s a countertop in front of me, a little table thing, and there are two laptops and I have a cell phone up to my ear and I’m nursing the baby all at the same time. That’s just the way it was extreme, but that’s just the way it’s always been. He went to our first closing when he was literally five days old.
Carol: Our kids have been coming on the job sites with us since day one, and even in this business now. So the interesting thing is, I told the boys, now they are now … one just turned 10 and the other is about to turn nine. I told them I’m starting this new business, and interestingly Chase looks at me and says, “Does that mean you’re not going to get us off the bus every day?” I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” Of course, I’m getting you off the bus every day. Whether you want me to or not. Right? So make that clear to your kids, this is what you’re doing. I took it a step further, not only am I getting you off the bus every day, after homework and so on and so forth on the weekends you can come over to the office, you can help with stuff.
Carol: They love, for example, using my phone to unlock locked boxes when we just do stuff over at different houses. So it’s just finding creative ways to make sure you stick to your priorities. You need to find ways to get your kids involved and you need to make sure that they’re just part of it every step of the way.
J: Awesome. Love that. Okay. You mentioned that you are hiring, so I know you’re early in this business, but you’re still bringing people on right away. Can you tell us a little bit about who your team is? How you’re hiring them? Why you’re hiring them? Like as opposed to, I know a lot of entrepreneurs just do this on their own and they say, “Hey, I’m going to be a one person show until I get everything up and running.” But you’re starting off in the in hiring mode. So, why and how are you doing that?
Carol: Fantastic question. Without fail, I really would love everybody to listen to this loud and clear. I cannot tell you, I cannot stress enough the importance of whatever it takes. However creative you need to be to make sure it happens. Go hire somebody for some part of your business and if you can't afford to hire someone to hire somebody, like with a full time salary for example, that's okay. Even if it's somebody for 10 hours a week that you're paying a few dollars an hour or to or a minimum wage or get clever with commission. Or maybe they're an independent contractor that works specifically on bonuses or helps you with tasks, whatever it is, go hire somebody.
Carol: This is why, right? It’s just like when you’re at the gym, there are so many mornings, for example, when it would be so easy to just stay in bed and say, “No, I don’t feel like going today.” But if you have a workout buddy waiting at the gym for you, suddenly you’re way more accountable, and you’re not going to miss that workout because you’re not going to let that person down. Here’s the thing, it’s very similar when you have somebody working with you. We just got a new office space, for example, that I’ll talk about in a bit.
Carol: But here’s a perfect example. I have a couple of people working in the office now, and I go in right after I dropped the boys off at the bus stop, and then I leave right before I go to pick them up at the end of the day. So I’m in the office for about six hours a day, and my mom came to visit last week and in the past it’s always been really, really simple. Before I specifically had employees working for us. It would’ve been really easy to say, “Oh, mom’s here, I’m just going to hang out or we’re going to go down to the beach or we’re going to go to lunch or we’re going to go shopping.” All those things really treat it like vacation mode.
Carol: That said, I had people in the office, right? And I want to be accountable to them too. I want them to realize that I am doing all the things I said I would do to really realize this vision of this awesome company that we’re creating. So, by being accountable to them, I made sure that I worked out our schedule so that I wasn’t in the office all six hours, but I was absolutely visible in any office in presence and engaged in contributing for a few hours each day. And you know what? It worked out great.
Carol: My mom and I still had a fantastic time together. So it was just a matter of getting clever about how to structure your time. Again, I highly recommend that anybody out there does the same thing. Find a way to hire a person or multiple people so that you can be accountable. So that’s the why.
J: So, who are those first one or two people that you hired in your business and how did you decide what roles to hire for right off the bat?
Carol: Great question. So, right off the bat I knew that the lowest hanging fruit in the business, right? Is because there’s such a need down here in Florida, was just simply somebody to help run the brokerage side of the business. Right? Like I mentioned, there’s all these different segments within the business. I want to hire a partner to essentially run each of those segments. So one that was the lowest hanging fruit, for example, is the traditional buy and sell side of the business.
Carol: So, I decided to seek out somebody who has a lot of great experience as an agent, particularly somebody who also maybe has experience running teams and so on and so forth. Right? So, in doing that, let me back up. So, that was hire number one, somebody that I knew could really, after we got everything up and running, could ultimately go out there and run the business. That’s another actionable tip. When you’re deciding who that first person is to hire, look at what it is in your business or look at who it is that is going to make the most impact. Okay? Your personal assistant would be phenomenal, your executive assistant is great.
Carol: That said, will that person necessarily be the one that’s going to drive revenue? Will that person really be somebody who can hire other people and grow your business? Not necessarily. So you need to look for whatever that role is that will make the biggest impact in your business and hire for that role. That’s how you’re number one. I’m going to talk about how I hired them in a minute. Then the higher number two, in addition to that, after I had that person all squared away, was to get a personal assistant because … let me back up. It’s a personal assistant and an executive assistant, so I don’t want to minimize this role. It’s actually very encompassing.
Carol: So realistically, we have this in our world, in the world that you and I, J share that for all of our investing. There are lots of things, where there’s all the back end of this podcast for example, there are all of our investments, there’s all of our books, there’s all of our speaking, there’s all of those other things. We need someone to help manage that stuff in. Additionally, we need somebody to help manage all of the day to day tasks that are happening in the office and with our company. Right?
Carol: So, the other person we hired was an assistant, and we very specifically clarified her roles as to what this person was going to be doing to assist J and me here, you and me I guess is the right way to say that. It’s very specifically what her roles would be to assist with the marketing and the administrative tasks that are within the brokerage. So those are the first two hires that we made right off the bat. Does that make sense?
J: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. So, and I know we did that in our investing business for many years. I remember the first hire in our investing business was a project manager. The reason why we chose a project manager first was because literally he could take 70% of the day to day tasks off of our plate. He could find contractors, he could evaluate properties, he could build scopes of work, he could manage contractors, he could get materials. Basically, 70% of the stuff that I would be doing and you would have been doing in the business day to day was covered by this project manager.
J: So I really liked that idea of figure out what role can take the most off your plate on day one and hire for that role first. Because ultimately as entrepreneurs we have so much to do on a daily basis. There’s so many tasks on our to do list and when we’re focused on those day to day tasks, we can’t be focused on the higher level strategy of our business. So bringing in somebody that can take all of those day to day tasks off of our plate allows us to have a lot more time in the day to focus on building the business and focus on working on the business as opposed to in the business. So, I love that.
J: So talk to us a little bit about, you decided you were going to hire for two roles, you were going to hire somebody who could do a lot of the day to day work and you were also hiring an executive assistant. How did you find those people? What tips do you have for interviewing and hiring? Like really what was your process for bringing those two people on?
Carol: I love this question for so many reasons. That’s before you and I started our investing business, like I mentioned, many years ago, I was responsible for growing out teams to design and carry out and execute new initiatives within companies. In doing that, frankly I feel like I got really, really good at hiring. Right? I think I have a lot of really useful tips for how to find the right people and how to save yourself time within the process. Right?
Carol: One of my very favorite ones for example is … a lot of our listeners out there, especially those of you if you’re working a current full time job, which there’s nothing wrong with that. Obviously, I did that for many, many years and frankly there are a lot of things I miss about that, so I get it. You may remember when you were first hired into your full time job, maybe you applied just through … maybe there was a lot of communication with an HR department through email or something for example. Well, I’ll tell you what, I like to do the exact opposite and I recommend you do the same. Here’s the tack to take, right?
Carol: So, for both roles we developed some very specific roles and responsibilities and job descriptions, posted them on, there’s a tool I like to recommend online. It’s called indeed.com, if you haven’t heard of it and they’re not a sponsor or anything, I’m just mentioning them because it’s a very useful online hiring tool. Makes the process really simple, really transparent, but I don’t just ask for a resume. Okay? Again, I recommend to do the same, figure out what the different roles are and what the customer facing experiences, I guess there are that you’re going to need for these hires, and make that a requirement of the hiring process.
Carol: So, for example, I knew that both of these roles would have to be … the people within these roles would have to be at least somewhat tech-savvy. They’d have to be able to use computers and video because that’s a big part of our marketing strategy. I also knew that they had to be exceptionally over the top, amazingly wonderful when dealing with customers and clients, right? I mean, there’s no room for error in this business. We’re a boutique brokerage who provides exceptional through the roof amazing surprise and delight every step of the way. That had to be part of it. Okay?
Carol: So, I also asked people to submit a 90 second to two minute video of why they’d be a perfect fit for the job. Now, why did I do that? Number one, it shows you right off the bat who really wants to take the initiative and who is green or not even necessarily green, just someone who is hungry and wants to do a really good job for you and wants to put their all into it. Frankly, people who couldn’t be bothered to send videos, I was just like, “Nope, no, I really don’t even have any reason to talk to them.” A two minute video, it’s not hard. Frankly, I’m one of the least tech-savvy people you will meet. That said, to record a video even if we weren’t doing the podcast or whatever. Anybody can figure out how to make a little video on their phone, how to upload it. It’s not that hard.
Carol: That was number one. Also, right off the bat, just lets you see that person’s personality shining through and that makes a big difference in your hiring. Okay, so that’s my tip number one. My tip number two around hiring, that saves so much time, and this is by far one of my absolute favorites is, rather than setting up interviews by email, which is such an easy way to do it, right? It’s so easy as a hiring manager to just send an email and say, “When can we schedule a time? Et cetera. What I like to do, it’s something different. Again, the reason behind this is that, these people need to be basically on during business hours, need to be exceptional when it comes to client services, right?
Carol: So, what I will do is, at about 9:10 or 9:15 in the morning, I’ll pick up the phone and remember, these people have recently applied for jobs. I’ll pick up the phone and I will just call them. It’s really that simple. Okay? Why do I call them at 9:10 or 9:15 in the morning? Because you would be absolutely shocked at how many people you’ve been in job hunting mode answer the phone like, “Hello.” I’m like, “Excuse me, are you serious right now?” I’ve got to tell you, that little tip right there has saved me hours and hours and hours and hours of wasted time throughout the years. Right?
Carol: Because here’s the deal, somebody, one would suspect who is out there looking for a job, who’s trying to put their best foot forward, and especially for these roles, I’ve been talking to a lot of people who are licensed real estate agents for example. So just naturally they should be good at customer service. They should be good at answering the phone. There were several people and it’s sad, it was sadly shocking, who answers the phone like, ” Hi.” I’m like, “Wow, I’m Carol Scott from Scott Silver Concierge Realty, and I was just calling you to follow up on your application that you submitted yesterday. “Oh, I’m so sorry.” I’m like, “Are you even kidding me?” I was nice about it and that type of thing.
Carol: But point of that story is, get out of your comfort zone. Don’t automatically assume that setting up interviews by email is the right way to go. You can figure out how your potential employee will treat a potential customer just by making that phone call during business hours when they’re not necessarily expecting it. I highly recommend that to anybody.
J: I love that tip and it says so much more that a lot of the people that you are getting resumes from and that you’re potentially going to call for an interview, where people that were licensed real estate agents, so not only did these people have to expect that maybe the person picking up the phone and calling me is a potential employer because they were submitting resumes, but also they had to think that these were potential clients. I mean, they’re real estate agents.
J: So 9:15 in the morning, it’s very possible that a client was going to pick up the phone and call them. So this is how they were answering the phone not just when it was a potential friend or a potential employer, but also a potential client. If they’re going to answer the phone that way with their own potential clients, makes you wonder how they’d answer the phone when they’re working for you and it’s your potential clients.
Carol: Exactly. It doesn’t only make you wonder, it pretty much solidifies what the customer experience could very simply be. I would rather just move right on from that person because there are plenty of other excellent people out there who are much more professional and are just so much better or client facing. So, just don’t waste your time people, just don’t waste your time. Figure out systems and processes within your everyday practices, whether it’s hiring or whatever that are going to save you time in that. That’s why I recommend from that.
J: Okay. I love that, and this sounds like a really cool business. Now, we have a lot of entrepreneurs out there who are just getting started. Maybe they've already started. We probably have some people who stay at home moms, that are looking to start the business and we probably also have some folks out there who are looking to try and figure out how to get started with their spouses. Maybe they have a spouse who's a stay at home spouse. They want to get that spouse involved. Do you have any tips in general for entrepreneurs out there that are looking to get their business started, looking to grow their businesses or looking to basically juggle being a stay at home mom or dad along with the business or working with the spouse who's a stay at home mom or dad and bring them into the business?
Carol: Certainly do. So the number one thing I recommend is to make sure that you have a dedicated space, even if it’s just a small room in your house, right? A dedicated space in which you run business. Because here’s what that does. That really puts you in the mindset of when I go into that space, I’m in business mode. So, for example, in our other homes before the home we live in now, we had these pretty darn big houses, and we were very fortunate because of the markets we lived in, and I was able to have my own home office at each of our houses and J had his own home office.
Carol: That said, we downsize significantly and simplified when we came here. So we have a much smaller house and our guest room is also my office. Even though it’s a small space, it’s a dedicated space. I’ll tell you what, it’s a fantastic thing knowing that when I come in this room, when I close these doors, it completely shuts you off from everything else going on and gets you in that mindset of, this is where I need to take care of the things that are not about my family, that are not about home. This is where I’m going to work and do the things professionally that fulfill me. That’s the number one tip.
J: Yeah. Anybody that’s watching this on video, that room that Carol’s in right now, that’s actually our guest bedroom. That’s also her office, and now that we have a separate office, we’re going to start using that. But for the past six, eight months, this has been her office and it’s really nice. Like she said, even though it’s a small space, even though it doubles as our guest bedroom, basically I know that anytime Carol’s in that room, she’s in work mode.
J: So just having that dedicated space, not necessarily sitting at the kitchen table or sitting at the dining room table, when she walks into that office, I know that she’s in work mode and she’s focused on work. So, it’s definitely something that I agree with as well. I like to work at the dining room table, I like to work at the kitchen table, but I know when I walk into my home office or out of home office, once I’m in there, I’m immediately into work mode.
Carol: Absolutely. So my second tip is, okay, ready for this. It is absolutely crucial that you get your priorities straight and you simply don’t compromise. Okay? What I mean by that is, like I’ve mentioned several times, my number one priority without question, without fail is my family. It’s being a good mom and it’s being a good wife, and everything else will follow. Okay? That’s why I’m hiring people to make sure that I can focus my time and energy where and when and how I need to. The other important thing is, when you determine what those priorities are, make sure you sing that loud and clear to everybody so that when you bring employees on, for example, they understand that, that is the way you’re going to run your business.
Carol: Interestingly, you will likely attract people who have got your back who have a similar vision and similar priorities. Also, from a client facing standpoint over the past several years. Additionally, I’ve taken my kids on some jobs with me, right? There have been a couple instances in which frankly, the clients are a little annoyed that they’re little two and three year old boys running around there, and I just looked at them and I’m like, “They’re part of the package, you want me? You get them.”
Carol: It’s amazing that people will just jump on board if they know that that is your priority and you’re still committed to providing them with excellent service. If they are not on board with that, well guess what? They’re just not a client that you need to be working with because again, we’ve said this a million times, but you’re only here on this earth for a short time and you need to do and focus on what matters most. So identify those priorities and make sure you don’t compromise on them no matter what.
J: Awesome, love that. Fantastic. Any other tips you want to share with our listeners or are you ready to jump into the final segment of the show?
Carol: I want to jump into four more, but there is one last tip I would love to leave everybody with. Okay? When you’re starting a business or even if you’ve been in business and you’re looking to grow it more, simply get out there, okay? Leave your office, leave your house. You have to look at it as every single day, every single meeting, every single interaction is another opportunity to run into somebody that might be worthwhile in some facet of your life, whether it’s your personal life, whether it’s your business life, whatever. Here’s a great example, right? I met the person who is actually the staging partner in our business just by being out at a meeting.
Carol: Here’s another great example. We have mapped out a really comprehensive marketing strategy for the first quarter of 2020, and it’s got all kinds of different components. It’s got online and traditional and mailing and all kinds of different things. It’s all mapped out in a beautiful calendar. Okay? That said, a couple of weeks ago, my partner that’s helping me run the brokerage company and I, we went to this public area and we were filming a video for our website. Well, guess what? By being out there with a little video camera, we ended up chatting with so many people and we got two clients in the hour and a half that we were sitting out there, because people just love to see what’s going on.
Carol: So, get yourself out there, do not be shy. Just seeing those praises of your own company, what you’re doing, what you’re passionate about, what’s coming in the future. I talked to people in line at the store all day long. I give out cards like there’s no tomorrow. Get people on board with what you’re doing and you’re going to find the right people to work with and the right people to work for.
J: Awesome. I absolutely love that tip. Okay. Well, I think you know how this next segment works. The four more, so I’m just going to jump right in. Question number one, what was your worst job and what lessons did you take from it?
Carol: I’ve had so many random jobs and so many worst jobs, but I think the one in which I want to share the lesson was, I took on the role of a marketing manager. This was back like a million years ago and I actually only stayed at that company for two weeks, and this is why. The company had a ton of potential, they were very early touchscreen computing type of things before touchscreens were a thing. This was back in the 90s, right? Tons of potential, really cool company, really cool branding, great track record.
Carol: They brought me in as the marketing manager, and I got there on day one and the person who hired me, who was the person … who was the founder of the company, was nowhere to be found. Right? He just completely disappeared. He would pop in every once in a while, always had his door closed and whenever I would try to set up a meeting with him to ask him what the overall vision was of the company and what he wanted me to create, he would just be like, “Well, I was hoping you’d figure that out.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me? You’re the founder, you’re the CEO and you don’t have a vision. How am I supposed to follow along?”
Carol: So, that’s what I learned from that is, in any business venture that you have, map out what that business is going to look like, what it feels like, what the initiatives are and make sure you communicate that effectively to every person in your organization.
J: Awesome. So, it was a two week job. Did you give your two weeks notice on day one?
Carol: Right off the bat, I came in, “Hi, I’m here and I’m out of here. Bye, it’s been real.”
J: Awesome. Question number two, what was the defining moment where you realized you had an entrepreneurial itch?
Carol: Back when I was a kid, I was literally fourth, fifth, sixth grade, whatever. I was doing face painting at little county fairs and craft shows and that type of thing. That was before face painting was big Disney face painting. I painted little Izod alligators for a quarter and at the end of the day I would come home, this is so ridiculous. I would come home with all these stacks of dollar bills and I would literally make sure they were not only stacked so that they were all facing the same direction. I would also organize them by serial number, and I was just like, “Oh my goodness, I’m a little OCD about this.” But I love, love, love being able to go out there and make money and figure out how I’m going to make some cash for myself.
J: That’s awesome. Okay. Question number three. What’s the worst advice you’ve been given and what do you do with it? What did you do with it?
Carol: By far, the worst advice that I’ve been given is something that I think we grow up with our whole entire life, especially as moms and women, which is, you can have it all. I call major BS on that. You can’t be an 150% amazing over the top mom and be an amazing 150% over the top wife and over the top amazing 150% business owner at the same, you cannot, something has got to give somewhere. So again, you have to prioritize and also you have to just realize that there is a point where everything is good enough, right?
Carol: Everything doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect every step of the way. Things can be good enough and we put so much pressure on ourselves to do it all and to be excellent, that you realize that your good enough is probably better than a lot of other people’s absolute best efforts. So just realize you can’t have it all, but you can prioritize the way to make it good enough and then some.
J: Love it. Okay. Question number four, I know this is your favorite question. I should probably let you ask yourself this question, but I’m going to ask you anyway. So what is something that you have splurged on, that was totally worth it?
Carol: Well, I’m looking for one right now and I don’t have. Oh, there’s one. This is something I’ve been splurging on for 20 years, and I still continue to splurge. Anyone watching this, it’s this little Unit-ball Vision, fine roller ball pen and it’s bright pink. Okay? I buy these by the 20 pack over and over and over, and I have been for literally 20 years at this point. This is why, it’s not just because I like pink. Pink has been part of my brand. So people wonder why do you wear a pink on the show and so on and so forth.
Carol: Well, again, back in the 90s, I know I’m dating myself, but back in the 90s when I was out in all of these corporate jobs and especially when I went to Silicon Valley, there was such pressure to like a man, dress like a man, wear big, boxy suits. That was before Silicon Valley, but then you get into Silicon Valley and it’s all man driven and so on and so forth, and I wanted to prove that I could walk around in pink heels and pink shirts and wear pink pants and still work really, really, really hard and surround myself with the right people and grow good teams and get stuff done. So pink has been my signature thing forever and it always will be and therefore is part of my brand always. I sign everything with a pink pen and people know it’s Carol Scott.
J: I can attest to the fact that we have those pink pens everywhere.
J: Awesome. Okay. So this is the more part of the four more for our listeners out there that want to find out more about Carol Scott, where can they get in contact with you? Where can they find out more about you? Where can they find out more about this amazing new business that you’re starting?
Carol: So my new website is scottsilverrealty.com, scottsilverrealty.com. I’m on Facebook as Carol J. Scott and my Instagram is @cjfullcircle. Also, of course, we’re on our own podcast. Both got to plug our BiggerPockets Business Podcasts. You can hear all kinds of stuff about me anytime, I have the book on Negotiating Real Estate, just all other kinds of fun stuff. So, get in touch with me anytime. I’d love to hear from you.
J: Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions today as opposed to being the one to ask the questions. This was awesome and I guess we will see you back here next week, but I am really looking forward to a few months from now when you come back and tell us all about how the business is going and maybe we can track your progress and your success over the next few months and years.
Carol: Absolutely. How fun is that? Anyone can do this people, that’s the thing. No matter who you are, no matter what you’re doing, you just got to get out there and do it. I know it’s so much easier said than done, but just take the first steps. You can totally do this.
J: Awesome. Okay, well, let’s wrap this up.
Carol: Let’s wrap it up baby. How do we do this? I’m sitting here and I’m like, “How do we make this happen?” Okay. Try, let’s see what we can do.
J: Let’s see what we can do. Okay. She’s Carol, I’m J.
Carol: Now, go start yourself a business today. Huh! We totally did it. That’s pretty good, that’ll work.
J: Awesome. Cool. Everybody have a Merry wonderful holiday Christmas, anything you celebrate and we will see you again right before the new year.
Carol: Thanks again everybody, see you soon.