At 18 years old, I was a doe-eyed teenager, fresh out of high school and on my way to the University of Florida on a full scholarship. The world was my oyster and failure was not an option; and then life happened.
What should have been a carefree era in my life quickly turned into a time for adult decision-making as I had to officially adopt and become the primary caregiver for my younger sister. Our dad died in a boating accident just a few months after I graduated high school; which left no one to care for my 16 year old sister, but our 77 year old grandmother or me (our mother died when I was 9). Given that my grandmother lived out of our area, living with her meant that my sister would have to change schools. It was a quick decision, and a relatively life-altering one as well, but I decided to take full custody of my sister, which meant putting college on the back burner and joining the workforce so that I could provide for her. So, here I was at a crossroads. I knew I’d made the right decision, but I also felt like I had to kiss my college career goodbye.
A few months later, I got married and delved into my new life as a sister-mom and wife. At the time, I asked my then husband (who is now my ex-husband) what I should do for work, and he suggested that I go into real estate like my mother.
Within a week I had a job as a property manager for an apartment community. I worked in that arena for 24 months, managing a 650 unit for lease up and renovation. This helped me build and develop my skill set for showing property, converting customers, and marketing. During this time I learned that renters were very easy to talk to and work with, and I got very good at converting them. At the same time, my sister graduated high school and now I had the freedom to make another career change and try a different route. Quite a few of the people that I’d rented apartments to were moving out and buying homes, and that intrigued me. That’s when I decided to get my real estate license.
At 20 years old, I was studying for my real estate license and still working full-time. I got pregnant with my first child and took a job as an assistant for small real estate company. The company specialized in working with investors and first time homebuyers and being there, at that time in my career, was the best route to learning the business and still receiving a weekly paycheck to provide for my family.
Within 90 days I was no longer an assistant and I had 14 homes under contract. In my first year, I sold over 50 homes. I’d taught investors how to identify lucrative projects and get them renovated or rented. I even rented large buses, put advertisements for my investors on them, and went out and searched for bank-owned properties and foreclosures with a general contractor. By the time I was 23, I had a full-time assistant and was selling and flipping over 100 homes a year. Interestingly enough, I was doing business with no real business systems or structure in place. I had no formalized systems, no processes, and no CRM.
Let me be very transparent in saying that although I run what some may see as a successful business, I’ve never been to business school and I have literally made every mistake under the sun. I have always been very good at identifying new ways to create and generate business; however, I flew by the seat of my pants for many years. It wasn’t until much later in my career that I even began to see the need for and value in systems and coaching services like those offered by Glover U.
During these earlier years, business was good, however, I was struggling in a few areas of my personal life. I had my daughter when I was 21 years old and I was 350 pounds. A year or so later, I had my son and gained an additional 35 pounds. Needlessly to say that I was very uncomfortable with how heavy I had gotten, and I made a decision to change. I started working out, losing weight and eventually feeling better about life and myself. The more weight I lost, the better I felt, and the more houses I sold. Unfortunately, I went through a very bad divorce at that time, but as luck would have it, I eventually ended up meeting and falling madly in love with the love of my life, who just happened to be my personal trainer. Sean, who was my boyfriend at the time, immediately started building our investment portfolio, purchasing 10 homes to basically buy, rehab and flip. However, before we could get the projects completed he was shipped overseas to Iraq for a tour with the U.S. Navy. He was away on his tour for almost a year and a half, and during the timeframe life happened yet again.
The market crashed, and so did equity in the 10 homes that we owned together. As a result, I had to scramble to rapidly short sell them so that we could get out from under them. It was probably one of the most longest and stressful years of my life. However, again, through life I found purpose and it was during that time that I transitioned into the foreclosure industry and learned how to represent banks. This was a pivotal moment in my career and business.
As soon as Sean returned from Iraq, we immediately got married. We had a big beautiful wedding and in my mind, life could not get any better. But I never conceived it could get worse. Five months after my wedding, my sister, the one I helped parent, was killed in a car accident, and my entire world crashed, again. I remember feeling so low. There were so many hard days during that time, but I remember feeling this overwhelming peace and push to keep going. There were days when all I could say to myself was, Christina, you have to keep going. Your kids and your family need you. Failure is not an option. I would tell myself this 10-20 times a day: Failure is not an option, failure is not an option. It became my mantra! I refused to give up, knowing that it was my sisters life that inadvertently led me down the path to real estate. I decided to keep going for her, and in honor of her because: failure is not an option. Six months later, I made the decision to join a large brokerage and pursue foreclosures as a listing agent. The first year, and every year after, I sold a minimum of 100 homes. Still, I did this without systems, without processes (other than what the banks required), and no CRM. I didn’t have any automation or follow up systems for
buyers or people I sold homes to. I was a single agent with one assistant, experiencing some level of success, but really defunct of how to take everything I had going on to the next level, but I was determined to figure it out because: Failure is not an option. I worked hard to make sense of everything business wise, and in my personal life my husband and I were
trying to conceive with no luck. Shortly thereafter, in June of 2013, I found out that I had uterine cancer, which was the same cancer my mother died of when she was 36 years old and I was 9. Needless to say this was yet another huge life event that completely changed my world. My greatest fear is dying and leaving my children and my family without a legacy, so despite my diagnosis I made another decision that I was in fact going to kick cancers butt and do everything I needed to do to create the legacy my family deserves. A week later, I discovered coaching. I was asked to go to an event that a coaching company was hosting and needless to say, I walked out of that event angry and upset with myself and my current company. My eyes were literally opened and I finally saw how the lack of systems and processes was impacting my business and my growth. Admittedly, you don’t know what you don’t know, but discovering business systems have been a game changer for my business and since then there is no turning back.
While I was fighting the cancer, I immersed myself into studying, coaching and fully following all of the systems necessary to create a small team. I hired an assistant with my out desk and immediately got a CRM. We put systems in place to follow the coaching models I was being taught. I learned lead follow up, new lead generating tactics and so much more to help our team put systems in place to follow up with our clients. I began networking with agents that were doing these things on a high-level and doing so has been and continues to be very helpful.
When I say, failure is not an option, I mean it! I crushed cancer, my husband and I were able to have our miracle baby and within two months after he was born, we launched our team. Admittedly, it took a lot of hard work and failing forward, but we did over 500 transactions our first year as a team of 12, and that is just a testament to what the right systems and coaching will do for your business.
I will be the first one to tell you that it was not, and still is not, an easy process. However, what I can say is that following effective and proven systems and models has allowed me to get further quicker because I get to learn from the experiences of others. I’m so thankful that I walked into that coaching event in 2013. It forever changed my life and the way I do business. It’s six years later, and I am still learning, however, with coaching systems and models, I am now learning on the highest level possible. I’m learning how to run what I do as a business and be more effective for my agents, my family, and my clients. I’ve gone through a myriad of trials and life struggles since the day I started the team. From losing 100 pounds to totally transitioning to my team to a new brokerage — one that has opened so many doors of opportunity for my entire team.
One thing I have learned through out this entire process is that life happens to all of us. We will all have our fair share of both good days and bad days, but no matter what you’re going through, with the right perspective and support you can reach your goals. I’m happy to say
that not only have I learned this, but I’ve lived this, and it is because of this that I can truly say that failure is not an option, for me, or for you!