Samantha DeBianchi is blazing an impressive path in the South Florida real estate market and charity circuit. She started DeBianchi Real Estate in 2009 and despite economic challenges in the industry, Samantha has made her business a great success. As an adjunct professor at FIU, she also teaches a course she designed about nightclub management.
When she isn’t teaching or running her real estate firm, Samantha is involved in numerous philanthropies including the Make-A-Wish Foundation (14th Annual Dream Date Auction is on July 27) and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (BeachBash is on November 1). She ran for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Woman of the Year” and is also a board member for HANDY (Helping Abused Neglected Disadvantaged Youth).
Q: You are very involved in the community. How do you have time for it all?
A: I think it is so important to get involved and give back and to never lose sight of the community that helped you in the first place. Through my company, we give 5% back to the client’s charity of choice.
Q: What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
A: I always knew from a very young age that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I always had a “business” starting all the way back to elementary school. I followed trends, knew my audience/client base, and understood their spending process—consumer behavior (why and how people spend). Obviously I was a nerd.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being your own boss?
A: There’s nothing like being your own boss and seeing all of your hard work (and lack of sleep) pay off. Building a brand is an amazing experience. When others (clients and outsiders) recognize me and my brand and mention how they’ve heard positive things – that’s the best feeling – knowing that all the hard work that is being put in is noticed.
Q: What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
A: I got into real estate in 2009 – not exactly the height of the market. In addition, I am in a very competitive industry, so many people are realtors or have a real estate licenses. I had to figure out a niche. Through my hospitality background I knew how to cater to people and always had to think creatively in the event that I couldn’t provide them with exactly what they wanted. In life, it’s all about connecting the dots. I figured out how to connect my past experiences to my current endeavors. That mixed with persistence…I’ve been knocked down quite a few times, but I never ever give up. I learned to just let go of fears and just go for it – that’s when I started to do well.
Q: How did you figure out the legal aspects of starting your business?
A: Fortunately I have a family of all attorneys (literally). You can say that I have “the dream team” working for me.
Q: What marketing tips can you recommend?
A: Marketing is HUGE in any industry. You can have a great product or service but if nobody knows about it, it really doesn’t matter what you have. It’s important to find out who your audience is and recognize not just what you want from them, but what you can give in return. People get approached to “use this or that” all day long—so why you?
Q: Who inspires you?
A: My parents. They are some of the hardest workers I know and are my biggest supporters. They keep me very grounded and always know how to put me in my place!
Q: What advice do you have for those who dream of opening their own business someday?
A: Stop dreaming and start doing. Let go of all the fears and “what ifs.” That’s the first step – and the step that very few people take. If opening a business was easy, everyone would be doing it. It’s a lot of hard work with no guarantee of success, but if the proper steps are taken, the juice is definitely worth the squeeze.
Q: Where do you see your business in the next three to five years?
A: Bigger, better, stronger. I have a good base right now and I will continue to build on that.
For more information about Samantha, please visit her website: DeBianchi Real Estate.
If you or someone you know owns a small business in South Florida and would like to share your story, please e-mail Kara Franker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to check back here for our next interview with a South Florida entrepreneur!