I had the chance to catch up with real estate extraordinaire and successful business owner, Jamey Prezzi, of Miami City Diggs. Jamey and her husband run a boutique luxury real estate team under the Keller Williams brokerage. In the following interview, she gives excellent start-up and marketing advice advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
What motivated you to start your own business?
Jamey: Both of my parents are entrepreneurs, so it runs in the family. Although I have worked for other companies in the past, I could never see that as a long term option. My motivation has always been that I wanted to work for myself and create a business that I am proud of and can support my family in the future without relying on someone else to do it. Plus, I think entrepreneurship is really the only way one can create their own income goals and meet them. If you work for someone else, you have to work by their standards and their goals, if you work for yourself, you have control over what you make.
I love that – If you work for yourself, you have control over what you make. What is your favorite thing about being your own boss?
Jamey: Seeing the results of hard work pay off.
The real estate business can be tough in this economy. What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
Jamey: When I started in late 2006, the local real estate market was crashing, so I had to think out of the box and work a little differently than what I was taught. Luckily, it paid off but we worked really, really hard for not a lot of money in the beginning. It took about three years for the business to start making money that we could actually live on and grow the business.
Are there any tricks of the trade you’ve learned along the way?
Jamey: As a small business owner hiring vendors is challenging. Good vendors – web designers, consultants and assistants – all cost money. The best advice I can give a small business owner is to use services like e-lance and other virtual assistant services. It’s a really great way to get tasks done without committing to a full time or expensive group. We are about to hire a virtual assistant part time to take on additional tasks.
What kind of start-up tips can you recommend?
Jamey: If possible, talk to other successful people in your business and find out what they are doing that is making them so successful. Find that one person in your industry who is a super star and take them out to dinner or for coffee and ask them to share with you how they started. Take those tips and build on them.
What have you found is the best way to market your services?
Jamey: Unfortunately there is no easy way when it comes to marketing. I have found that the marketing projects that have been the most successful for us are those where we are spending A LOT of money on per month, but that’s a scary thing to commit to before you are making money. Those that I never thought we could afford have been the most successful. It’s a calculated risk but a risk none the less. Clearly if you don’t have a budget, you cannot start this way, so start small and build on it. Also, good marketing takes time so you have to be in it for the long run.
Who inspires you?
Jamey: A few people. My mom, my father and my husband. They are all small business owners and hard workers. It’s really important to be surrounded by good people.
What advice do you have for those of us who dream of opening our own business someday?
Jamey: Don’t talk about it to everyone because people who are intimidated to start their own business will tell you every reason why yours will fail. For instance everyone told me I was crazy to start a real estate business when the market was crashing. I just ignored them, kept my head down and stayed focused. Learn the power of positive projections, prayer or whatever works for you that makes you already feel successful in this moment. Surround yourself with really positive people.
At Miami City Diggs, Jamey helps her clients buy, sell and rent luxury condominiums, homes and estates. Jamey specializes in the areas of Miami Beach, Brickell, Downtown Miami and surrounding neighborhoods. If you or someone you know owns a small business in South Florida e-mail Kara at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to check back for our next interview with a South Florida entrepreneur!