The Alimond Show

Kelly Ettrich - NOVA Realtor

November 28, 2023 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Kelly Ettrich - NOVA Realtor
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wondered how video marketing can revolutionize your real estate business? Buckle up as we journey into the world of real estate with our expert guest who's a trailblazer in marrying the two fields. Get front-row seats to her inspiring journey, from humble beginnings in real estate to leveraging video marketing in creating authentic connections with potential clients and maintaining a consistent brand ethos.

As we stride into the future, we scrutinize the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the real estate industry. Chat about the advantages and potential pitfalls of AI, its proficiency in saving time, and its potential to revolutionize video content generation. Don’t miss out on our lively discourse about maintaining human connection amid technological advances and our predictions about the future landscape of real estate.

Balancing personal and professional lives can be a daunting task, especially as a business owner. Engage in a candid talk about these challenges and the importance of having a guide or mentor to help navigate this journey. We also dissect the essence of understanding your client base, the merits of risk-taking, and the need for an intimate familiarity with your community for success in real estate. Our guest also opens up about incorporating her family into the business and the invaluable life lessons her children glean from the experience. Be part of this journey through the ups and downs of managing a small business and the valuable lessons it offers.

Speaker 1:

I'll tell you, you do videos all the time you are always being interviewed for your marketing. I do my videos. You do like videos. Obviously You're like one of your bigger tenants, at least within your marketing bucket it is. Oh, why did you get into marketing? Or why did you do this video?

Speaker 2:

So I was in my second year in real estate and my first year I did pretty well. My second year, the first half was good and then I started to fill this lol. And I was like, okay, what am I going to do to connect with more people and reach more people? And I remember hearing somebody say you can't be a secret agent. And I think that's really hard when you're new in a career, because you may not have the confidence to put yourself out there and to say, hey, everybody, guess what? I could help you with your home needs, with your real estate needs, right? So I, but I was struggling a little bit with that and I had been to a Century 21 Redwood business planning. Tom Ferry was actually leading it and he so this is now six years ago and he's talking about video, video, you gotta do video. And so I was at dinner at Cooper's Hawk in Ashburn with my I don't even know if I was engaged at the time my boyfriend, who's now my husband, but Mark and I was telling him that everyone kept saying you gotta do video, you gotta do video. And I was like, but I'm not even sure what I'm gonna talk about. And we got in this conversation about how Loudoun County, or Ashburn actually specifically, had just been voted the number two or number one best place to live in the United States, and I was like, well, of course it is. And I started talking about all the reasons that I love Loudoun County, they said and that's your channel, yes, and then that's my channel. Well, I love Loudoun County. So that was it. So, literally, mark goes, okay, we'll stand up, and I go right here on this patio with all these people and he's like, yeah, just stand up and talk about it. So I did, and I think once I did the first one, I was like, oh, that wasn't that bad, okay, I could do this, and so I really made that. The focus of my video series is why I love living here.

Speaker 1:

How did you stay consistent? Is he your cameraman?

Speaker 2:

He is my cameraman. I do. I have a built-in cameraman. He's now my husband, so now it's part of the responsibility. How do I stay consistent? I can say that that is probably, I think, one of the harder things probably with any businesses. Right, when you find something that works, how do you make sure that you are motivated to get up and do it every day or every week or whatever that looks like, and I used to do it. Wednesday was always Wednesday date night, so it was the one night I didn't have my kids during the week, and so Mark and I would always go on a date. So every Wednesday we would pick a new place to go on date night and we would shoot a video.

Speaker 1:

Quick question it is now a tax write-off because it is marketing. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I keep every receipt how to, how to make date night To a tax write-off, along with my nails and everything else. Yes, no, you're right, so we did that. And then we do it on Saturday. So it used to be sort of this we would purposely pick a place to go to, and when we were there we would do a video. That has morphed over time and completely changed, and so now we'll go out and batch them and we'll go record five, and if you look in the back of my car, I have five different tops or five different sweaters. Whatever that I'm gonna put on right, I've sort of identified where we're gonna go, and so because of that, it's now sort of easier to stay consistent.

Speaker 1:

Now you're doing your own editing. Are you outsourcing that? How are you? Because that's it's fun to film, but it's a lot of time to edit.

Speaker 2:

So okay. So I not only have a built-in videographer, I have a built-in editor, so Mark also edits, he does, he does, and we have sent it out every once in a while and then he's a disappointed by the result. I think for him it's like his creative outlet, so we can sort of have fun with it, which is why he does it. But then we've also added on, so we now have a second video series called Coffee with Kelly, and the reason for that was I realized that focusing on why I love living in Loudoun County is important, because when you buy a home you don't just buy the home, you also buy All the things that go along with it, right? So the people, the schools, the shops, the amenities, the activities, all those things and that's a really important aspect, but that people also have, when they're in the process, really real estate specific questions, and so I try to sort of batch that all together into this Coffee with Kelly. I'm sitting in my kitchen literally with my cup of coffee and I answer different real estate questions that have come in, and so that's been sort of fun to add into the mix also.

Speaker 1:

I love that. So consistency is something you've got under wraps because you've got your built-in man.

Speaker 2:

I do. It does make it easier.

Speaker 1:

How are you going to stay? And maybe you're not. Maybe you're not going to change things up. To stay on top, would you Like? Do you see the next five years as no, I think the way to win this game is to stay consistent, doing what I'm already doing. Or are you of the mindset of, like I've got to reinvent myself in order to keep views and engagement? What are you? How do you.

Speaker 2:

So I think it's sort of a little bit of both. I'm going to stay consistent with those two topics. I also, of course, add in listing videos and things specific to houses Right. But I think that the form of video has changed and that's where I feel like I have to be flexible and I have to be reactive to the marketplace and what people's attention span are and how much they're willing to watch. So when I first started, my videos maybe were a minute and a half or two minutes. I now keep trying to make them shorter and shorter and shorter. And now they're not horizontal, not vertical, and I'm constantly trying to adapt to whatever that new format is and trying to stay current with what kind of captions and what kind of graphics do you put in and like as a hook and yeah, right now I'm on, like oh, chatGPT, Can you give me a couple of hooks?

Speaker 1:

I was about to say how are you integrating chatGPT into your workflow?

Speaker 2:

So in two ways. One would be with videos is really just for that Like can you give me some hooks and I can even give them a topic, so no one I'm going to talk about. But I realize if I don't capture people in the first five seconds, they've already scrolled right way past me. So I have been using it for that. And then actually, with writing descriptions about properties, I still write my property descriptions, but I will then take that and ask chatGPT to make it smaller and more condensed so I can put it on my brochures. And that used to be really hard for me. I was, which is sort of ironic because I think when I was growing up, if, like a teacher said, you had a rate of five page paper, mine was three I always felt like there was a quicker, more efficient way to put it. But when it comes to talking about a property and then taking something that is this long and making it like this, I've struggled with it.

Speaker 1:

So that's made it so much easier. I know it takes like an hour long task into like a 45 second task Because a lot of it is mind blowing. It's mind blowing and a lot of those old tasks were just like energy sucking tasks that didn't need to take all that energy. Yes, so yes, as much as I hate AI, I love.

Speaker 2:

AI as well. I totally agree. There's a part of it that really scares me, and then there's a part of where I go oh, this is the most wonderful thing that's ever arrived, right? It's funny. We always joke about creating like an avatar of me so that you could then do my videos, but we're.

Speaker 1:

Right now. Yeah, you've seen them right. Yeah, how do you feel about it?

Speaker 2:

before I speak, so I think for me because I actually genuinely love doing video and I love connecting with people and I don't know if that same level of connection will be there I probably look at that and go, yeah, that's not going to be for me, right? But there are a lot of people who don't feel that way and it may be a way for them to start in the video world. I think I need to kind of watch it for a while, see if other people do it and see how it's received.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's a good way to approach things. I'm just against it. For me, I think it depends on what your brand is about. If you want to just be a talking head, it doesn't even have to be your head. You could get anybody else to do it. It doesn't have to be you. For me, personally, if it's a representation of me, I want to make sure those words came out of my mouth. I don't want to create the ability for anybody to create words that I don't believe or I didn't say to come out of my mouth.

Speaker 2:

I agree with you. I think there's a motion behind when you talk. This is part of the reason that, although it's so easy to text somebody or send an email, right when you pick up the phone I mean, I had a situation even today with a client where we are talking back and forth. It's a listing and we had an offer that's a little bit below our asking price, right? And she was just adamant that no, I'm sticking with my list price. And we were emailing and sharing statistics and all this sort of data back and forth and I thought, why am I doing this? So I picked up the phone. We had the best conversation this morning. We came to an agreement on how we were going to move forward. So there's something about that communication that takes place when it is you and it's your words and it's your emotion that can't be replaced by technology.

Speaker 1:

And that's how I feel.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I just said it very eloquently I've been intrigued. I've been intrigued by it.

Speaker 1:

But I know it's probably going to get. I'm sure it's going to keep getting better and better, but right now you can tell that even if it sounds like the person, it still doesn't really sound as authentic as no right, yeah, and their face isn't going to move the same way. Yeah, in a way like you talk, you slow down. I'll coach people through, like, if they have to read from a teleprompter, I'll coach people through how to read from a teleprompter, because you can be a human reading from something and still sound like a robot. Yeah, you're not pausing, talking really fast through certain parts. Yeah, you're right, it's fun. You're right, it is fun. So, in terms of looking into the future, not just for videos, but just overall for real estate, I know we're in the Northern Virginia market, but where are you seeing things headed over the next year, five years? Take out that crystal ball and tell me what Kelly sees.

Speaker 2:

You know it's funny because I think that I always joke and I say if I had that crystal ball I would be on a beach of my own private island with my feet in the sand drinking my cocktail with the umbrella. Right, because real estate is one of those used to feel very predictable, now of a sudden feels very unpredictable, and I think ever since COVID. I think COVID took a lot of us by surprise. Right, we had a moment of panic of oh my gosh, this is it Like we're done for the next. However long this is going to carry on, we're not going to be able to be with people face to face, we're not going to be able to be in other people's homes. We're going to have to be doing everything remote. And then that very quickly changed to oh my gosh, this is it. Oh my gosh, I can't believe the business, right? I mean, no, it did Like it took on this, and then to where you almost couldn't even catch your breath. And I remember thinking that I was so grateful that my husband was working from home, because the kids are home every day, right, doing online school, and as a real estate agent, you weren't home at all during COVID. I mean, it really was sort of a crazy pace. So when you look at that and you say never expected that, right. And I think what's been happening recently with the interest rates increasing and I always tell my lender friends I'm like, oh, I hope you save some money from all those refis, because it's not just all the people that bought houses in the past three years, right, it's all the refis that took place in the past three years. So you have so much of the population sitting on a very low interest rate and nervous about giving that up. Even if they need, even if they've outgrown their space and they need more space, or even if their space is way too big and they need to downsize, they're afraid to let go of that interest rate, right? So I think we are feeling sort of locked right now and there are still houses selling and there are still people buying, right, but it's a much, much slower pace and then really unfortunate, sad things happen in the world and you never know how that's going to impact what's happening.

Speaker 1:

I know, just even recently, just listening to conversations of people that I know I'm like, hey, so how's the house hunting going? And they're like, oh no, I'm putting a pause right now. I don't know, is everything going to drop? Are we going to have a war? Are we going to have something happen within the government? So we're the economy?

Speaker 2:

I do, and I think those uncertainties cause a lot of people to stop, to panic and pause. They do. I also noticed every time the interest rate goes up we have about three weeks of it sort of getting quieter. And I always tell buyers I'm like this is your turn, like let's get out there. You don't have as much competition, there's still houses on the market. Let's go and make an offer right, and then the market kind of picks back up. People sort of adjust. I think humanity is very resilient and so I think people adjust and adapt to whatever those changes are. So I think that we'll continue to have a what can I say? We'll continue to buy and sell homes. I don't know that we're going to have as robust of a market as we've had over the past couple of years, but I think we'll get to a place where it will be healthier. Do you think?

Speaker 1:

certain groups of agents will kind of fall off because I do.

Speaker 2:

I think there's already been a lot of agents that have fallen off and really I mean it's sad to see a lot of them go. There's also some of them that I shouldn't have been there to begin with. Thank you, I shouldn't have been there to begin with and I think got in during this couple of years and said, oh my gosh, this is like this is a golden honey, I should get into this career, right. So for those folks to go, I think it's okay, but I know I even have some friends in the business who, If you're selling three houses, four houses a year, you're not paying your own mortgage, right. So I do think that we are going to end up with a smaller group of agents.

Speaker 1:

Things are shifting, but I think that is part of owning your own business Get some of the hardest things for you. I was going to say besides marketing, but I don't know if marketing was a hard thing for you, but what are some of the hardest things for you in managing and owning your own business of the nature?

Speaker 2:

Okay. So I would say, probably the hardest thing is time management. For me, and part of that is because when I go all in, I go all in and I also like to be available and I want to be flexible and I want my clients to be able to reach me no matter what time of day. It is Right and it's funny. I first went into real estate and maybe we'll go there in this conversation and talk about that but I really thought, oh, real estate is going to be flexible. I had four children. I had one in high school, one in middle, one in kindergarten and one in preschool. So I had four different schedules that I was managing Right, and I thought there is no way I can go back to corporate America. There is no way I can go back to that structured schedule because, of course, we weren't working from home eight years ago, right, and I was in the office every day. And how am I going to manage this, even getting kids to school and home from school, and so real estate is going to be flexible. It's really not flexible.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, the eye plutter, there was.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's really not flexible. It's a lot of evenings, it's a lot of weekends, because you need to be available when your clients are available and they're not always available during the work day. So for me, I think it's trying to always find that balance between how do I make sure that I continue to be a really good mom, that I continue to be a good wife, a good daughter, a sister, a friend, all those things, and still have this very robust business, right? And so I play around at times with, oh, should I have a team? And then I think no, I actually think that will take more time for me because and I'll switch your roles too, right, it would switch my role. I think I need to outsource this piece or that piece. So I always am kind of looking at ways that I can build efficiencies into the business, but I would say, personally, that's what I struggle with Time management and just that balance.

Speaker 1:

I'm going to say I think that's like a lot of small business owners, or just business owners in general, is managing that time, because we all have the same amount of time in a day. Yes, but there are some people that are the Elon Musk's of the world and then there are some people that are just struggling to catch the bus in the morning to get to their job.

Speaker 2:

You're right. What's funny, my dad and I had this conversation about a lifestyle business versus a really successful business, and not that a lifestyle business can't be successful. Well we were successful in the Right. It's successful in terms of having a lifestyle. So we were talking about a particular restaurant. They live in New Hampshire and there's a wonderful restaurant but it's closed on Sundays and Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So it's basically open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and so, but that's okay because they've been able to create a lifestyle that fits how much they want to work or how often they want to work or what it is that they want to put out there, Right. And so I think you know and that's okay, and that's okay, and if you make that decision, that's good, right. But then if you're over here and you go, yeah, but no, I want to be super successful and I want to help a lot of families and I want to help a lot of people and I want to continue to grow my business, then I think you really are struggling with how do you keep balance and have that success at the same time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think it's a big thing for me as I'm trying to think through, because I was about to say it's really not possible at certain limits. But then I was like, no, no, no, anything is possible if you've got a good mentor or coach who can show you, because a lot of these, whether it's marketing, whether it's time management, you know different sales aspects of your business. Like it doesn't come intuitively, like you don't, like you could figure it out by stumbling along the way, but for the most part you don't really know. You just keep doing what's currently working, yeah, but sometimes that just means you're plateauing, yeah, until somebody comes in and says like hey, actually you don't have to do it. This way, you don't have to do the in person meetings every single week. That's something recently that we've changed. Once a month you do the in person meetings. The other three weeks you can do it virtually. Well, that now saves I don't mean personally so many hours per month that I'm not having to drive over here, drive back. Our meetings go from 45 minute meetings to like two hour meetings.

Speaker 2:

Those are just chit chatting, because you're here in person. You too, it does.

Speaker 1:

So it's just like little things like that. Yeah, so the other times you're here or something, or you'll have an actual paid coach that just helps.

Speaker 2:

I think that's even like when it's talking about video, right? Yeah, like literally every Wednesday, every Saturday, go and record a video Right. And now it's like and then I would start to drive it and be like oh, oh, let me get the video done first. Right, let me go ahead and do that first. So you do sit down like, okay, I batch it. So you're right, you're always looking for ways that you can be more efficient or more effective. I think the other challenge, especially in real estate, is trying to figure out who is your client, who is your target. So it's not anybody Audience. It's not anybody who wants to buy yourself, and actually that's another area I struggle in probably is boundaries. It's like when do you say you know what? This probably isn't the right match, this isn't a good fit, and letting that client I will say you are one of the very few agents that is saying that.

Speaker 1:

not everyone literally I'm pretty sure maybe there might be two other people, but everybody else I've ever talked to. So I've got a lot of agents. They say anyone and everyone who wants to buy or sell a home. And if I'm not coaching them I'll say okay, I don't want to think that.

Speaker 2:

but so I know I said about my dad before my dad's had a huge influence on me and my life and my business and he said to me he was in sales this whole life and he said, kelly, when you can identify those people who you should not be working with, you are actually successful in business. At that point that's just a great point, because it's like, if you have all these other clients over here, why allow that one person to just be a time drain, be like the time vampire which some people can be, and so I think it's identifying that. But in terms of being in real estate, you come into this business and you're like, okay, I can learn the forms, I can understand real estate law, I can figure out even the marketing piece of it, but if you don't have clients, you are not going to be successful. Which is probably why a lot of agents say anybody who wants to buy or sell a house is going to be my client, right? Because that's the way. You have none Right If you have none, then you're no longer in real estate. So I think it's trying to hone in on who becomes your target audience. And I've over time morphed from thinking, okay, I want to, I'm going to cast my whole net for Northern Virginia, and then I'm like I'm just going to narrow in on Brambleton. Well, no, maybe I'm at it right. So I've been sort of all over the board, but what I've really come to is more of a piece of like. You know, primarily, let's say, loudoun County, right, and that's not that I don't do some unfair facts or some engage kind of on the fringe of Loudoun County. But I think that one of the things that makes you successful in real estate is really understanding your community and being able to add value to that buyer or to that seller Right, and the only way you can do that is having deep knowledge in a geographic area and you can't have deep knowledge of all of Northern Virginia and so being able to sort of hone that in and then being able to say, ok, so how do I connect with those people, how do I market to those people? And I think you know a lot of that is being present in the community. You know, I laugh like when people see my videos, I walk into a party and they'll say, oh my God, I see you everywhere. And I think to myself and I'm like, you see me everywhere on social media, but actually I am everywhere. I mean, that's why you see me everywhere. Right, I was the other day. I was going into tarbenders because I was doing a video for tarbenders and I walk in and this gentleman stands up and he goes, oh my gosh, in person, like it's really you, he has seen me on social media. He feels like we have a friendship, like we have a direct connection, and we do, but it was one that was, you know, excited. Yeah, I was like, hey, you know so. But but you do, you have to be present in your community, you have to be present in front of your clients and I love that story because you know I started getting to the video marketing game like 10 years ago.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so before Tom Ferry blew up on it, before I was doing local classes here, I came to some of your classes. I still have some of your workbooks. And that was a story that I told at all of those workshops is that's why I got really big into it, because as a photographer, people would come up I was doing lots of video marketing and they would say like, oh my gosh, aliyah, how's your kids doing? Oh my gosh, lila's getting so big. And you know, congratulations, callola looks up. I'm sitting here like these people know so much about my life. Yes, all from video content, video marketing, and they come in hugging me.

Speaker 2:

Because they, they feel they know you and they do. I mean, I think if you're doing a good job at video marketing, you are showing your authentic self, you are showing your real person, right, like I see, a lot of people you know use all sorts of filters and crazy things and you wouldn't even know it was the same person when you saw them in person. And I tried to stay away from all of that, right, because I'm like, okay, this is who I am, this is the age I'm at, this is where I am in life right, so that you can really connect with people.

Speaker 1:

So you obviously were doing that very well and but I'm saying like that's a great way, like for somebody who doesn't want to do video. I'm like, listen, you're actually doing the other person a favor and you have favor Right, like your business favor by doing that, because when they see you for the first time, there isn't that awkward feeling of doing. I'm not comfortable yet Give them the ability to trust you, to feel comfortable, to have a really good burst experience with you because you already got through that, or the opposite end. If there's something about you they don't like they don't like the way you speak, they don't have the way you look, they don't like the way you carry yourself Then you also save that person. You are right From even right, they've self selected out.

Speaker 2:

Yes, which is actually better. Yes, yeah, you're right, and it does. It is amazing how much more quickly you can start to focus on the business piece of it, because you already know each other, or they know you at least. Yeah, and I'll go out and I will look at the photos that potential clients post, or videos that they post, and someone will say are you creeping? No, I'm not creeping, I'm trying to get to know them, just like they know me. Right? Yeah, I'm trying to get to know them, them through the process of buying or selling a home.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And so I think social media has opened that up for all of us to do that so much more quickly.

Speaker 1:

Do you ever say something and it catches them off? Wow.

Speaker 2:

I know I haven't done that yet, but actually I've seen two kids where's the other one? Like wait, I didn't tell you. How do you know so much about me?

Speaker 1:

I've done that before, where I've like said something to some like a perfect stranger and I'll be like you know oh my gosh, kelly, like I saw you over at Tarbenders and it's like wait what?

Speaker 2:

You know, and they're like oh wait, that was social media crap?

Speaker 1:

Oops. Yeah, yes, you do. You see people out and about and you're like I know I've seen that person. Yeah, I feel like I know that, yes right, that does happen.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, why do we know each other?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Don't we know each other?

Speaker 2:

online.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's true, so it brings us together, but sometimes you've got to be careful about that. You do, yeah, you're right. Okay, looking into, for your career outside of video marketing, what's the next thing for you in terms of how you're going to continue growing? How are you going to keep navigating the world of real estate in Northern Virginia or maybe beyond?

Speaker 2:

Like what's on Kelly's, what's on my sort of goal list, yes, my aspiration list. So I had this crazy you're going to laugh I said this to. So I participated in a training session yesterday and the person leading it said that one of the people he had been working with had recently been asked to be like on HGTV or beyond a show where they were talking about real estate in the local area. And I got off that call and I was like, yes, that's what I wanted to do. I want to be asked to help lead something about Loudoun County and real estate in Loudoun County. So that all of a sudden has become sort of a goal for me and I shared it with my son. My son he goes, oh, mom, he goes. I don't understand, Like you know, all this like want to be fame, or it has nothing to do with wanting to be famous, it has to do with almost feeling like, okay, I've arrived, I made it. I made it Like I'm an expert in not only real estate but in real estate in Loudoun County, right, and I can help to provide and disperse that information to so many other people around me. So I don't know that that will ever happen, but it is kind of like a little like shiny star out there, look at, happen right, don't wait for things to happen.

Speaker 1:

Once I start getting on something like creating your own show, or I've wanted to do a podcast for a long time I would kind of dabble in it and then start telling them I'm just like, you know what, I'm going to make my own show, I'm going to do it. Make sure I've got a team around me to stay consistent, and then just go, and I'm pretty sure we've got enough episodes right now. That's going to take us all the way through at the end of December Wow, ish, so like. And then we've got like 30 to 40 more scheduled over the next few weeks, so that's going to take us into January. Don't wait for things to happen Like figure out a plan and make it happen for yourself, because sometimes it might be a small opportunity it might not be HGTV, right, but it might be your own form and then you're going to be seen and viewed by another series, whether it's HGTV or somebody else, and be like hey, should be a perfect fit for whatever. Yes, okay, I'm going to. You're doing that now. I'm going to, you're doing videos now. But like, yeah, yeah, but you're right.

Speaker 2:

You kind of have to almost like manifest what you want it to be and then go for it. Yeah, that's awesome. Okay, I'm going to do that. I'll keep you posted.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I'm like I will. Okay, in terms of what piece of advice would you give to small business owners out there? Just to kind of wrap things up, what advice would you give them as they're trying to build their business in today's economy? Yeah, I'll just leave it there.

Speaker 2:

Period. Okay, so real quick. I actually grew up in a small business, which I think is part of the reason that I have such a calling towards owning my own business. Tell me about it. And so I learned so much through that experience. So my parents, when I was 10 years old, opened up a miniature golf course oh, of course, where is that? So not like what you would think of as your typical small business. It was in Pittsburgh. So I grew up in Pittsburgh, but I grew up in a really small steel town called McKeesport and the neighborhood right next to it was White Oak, and so it was at like the base of a shopping center and they built this beautiful golf course and I can remember us going and like picking out fiberglass animals and all the things that were going to be in. Every hole was named after one of our different family members, so we had, like this gorilla that was gorgeous George, because I had an uncle George right, and so it was really fun to put all that together. Where's the Kelly? So well, the whole golf course was called K and K Miniature Golf for Kelly and Kerry, so for my sister and I, and so I was really a part of that business from 10 up to probably like 22 when I graduated from college and it taught me so much about all the different things you have to do to be successful, and really a lot of it comes down to hard work. It comes down to, you know, every day showing up we would. So we'd close the golf course and open in April what was at the bottom of the shopping center and all the garbage all winter long, because people used to litter. I don't know why I don't see as much litter anymore, but it felt like people always would roll down into this golf course and we had all of these beds that were lined with rocks. So my sister, my dad and I and my mom on the weekends would be pulling all those rocks out, cleaning out the sludge, putting the rocks back in right. It was hard work. It was 10, 11 years old, it was freezing cold. Our big outing would be to go to Dairy Queen for lunch, right, and that's how we'd eat, you know. But then it was not only about that. It came down to about customer service and really making sure that you were delivering a consistent product to your customers, right? And so we used to watch a lot of videos on Disney and on the Disney way of doing business, and that you're kind of on stage and that if you had a headache or you weren't feeling good, you didn't greet a customer by like, oh, how are you today, you know? No, you had to be engaging with them. And then you know, you went in the back room and you had your moment to sit down and be off stage, right, and feel bad. But so, really staying focused on that whole level of customer service and delivering a high level of customer service, it was also about understanding what worked and what didn't work, you know. So for us, from a marketing standpoint, we used to go and put coupons on all of the windshields of cars for a dollar off a game of golf, and we would be at every local fair, we would be at every packed parking lot on a weekend putting those coupons on people's windows, right, and then we were able to track it and see who brought those coupons in and we'd put like a little code on the back so we knew where we had actually distributed those coupons. And I think a lot, so a lot of those things kind of feed into the real estate business and into any small business right, which is understanding your client base, understanding what a high level of customer service is, or whatever level of customer service you're going to deliver, being consistent across the board, hard work, and then measuring what's working and what's not working and, if it's not working, not being afraid to say, hey, I'm not going to do this anymore. Like I used to go and set up a little table at the elementary school for our carnival and I would have a table there and that wasn't bringing me any business, right, and I was like, okay, that's not something I want to continue to repeat, right, but I'm going to be at the Brambleton neighborhood day, like I just was, you know, with my things, because that gave me a great chance to meet a lot of people. So I think it's kind of Do live interviews.

Speaker 1:

Ask them about Brambleton. Oh, that'd be a good idea.

Speaker 2:

What's your favorite? What's your favorite thing in Brambleton? What's your favorite thing to do?

Speaker 1:

Because then they're going to want to tune in and they're going to want to go find you on social media and they're going to be like oh my gosh, that's me, that's my cousin, that's my Okay, I'm going to do that.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to do that. I should do that the neighborhood day. I should Okay, next year, next year, I'm gonna incorporate that in Okay, well, that's what I'm talking about. So that's like great advice, right. It's like taking and saying okay, when you're opening up a small business, you can't do all the things all at once, but as you get those things down and now you can operate at a level of consistency. So what am I gonna do to make it better or different, and just a little bit better every time?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's awesome. I love that. So start a miniature golf when you're 10 years old, Okay it paid for me to go to college.

Speaker 2:

And it literally threw off enough money and went to Northwestern, which was not inexpensive, and it paid for me to go to school with my sister. That's amazing, so it really was profitable.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you have no doubt, Because is it a touristy area or?

Speaker 2:

no, not really no, but you know what it became the place to be? It became the location to go right, and so it was very close to a movie theater, so people would go see a movie come down in golf, and then we used to run birthday parties, and so it was the place to have your kids' birthday party.

Speaker 1:

I love it.

Speaker 2:

And then we had a cousin who would bake the cakes and she now has a huge bakery in that neighborhood which is really neat.

Speaker 1:

So you guys are all entrepreneurs now. Yes, all because mom and dad started K and K. Yeah, it's real, really, because it really did teach, built a team of entrepreneurs. Yes, yeah, and I think that was their goal.

Speaker 2:

I think my parents are masterful. They were like we're gonna teach our children business at a really early age and the expectations were high. Yeah, they were, we were gonna be successful. That was the expectation. I love it.

Speaker 1:

We've got our team of workers right here.

Speaker 2:

Okay, I have a funny story about that. Two or three years ago my parents said Kellan Kerr, we have dinner arranged for you and your husbands at this really beautiful restaurant in New Hampshire and just for the four of you to get to spend time together. And so we walk on into the restaurant and sitting at the table are my sisters and my chairs. We had these like golf chairs that they were green. Our colors were green and white. My parents had cleaned them up. They had our names on them. They had literally had them sitting at the table with letters that they had written to us saying you know, we now look back and think maybe we violated every child labor law and demand a guy, given the number of hours, so we had your girls work. But we wanna let you know what a special moment that was for us as a family and to watch that business grow and how much you girls contributed, and we just wanna say thank you. Oh, that's really amazing. That was really. It was. That was yeah, it's really touching.

Speaker 1:

Here's my last, real last question for you. Are you doing the same for your kids?

Speaker 2:

Okay. So no, not as successfully. I don't know that I'm doing it as successfully. We've actually talked about, we've played with buying a sweet frog business. We've actually played with buying a vending business. We've considered a couple of different things that would allow us to do it, and really a miniature golf course would be great in this area. We could really benefit from that. Right, I do find ways to bring them into my real estate business. So in that way I have, you know, like that neighborhood day, I gave away grocery bags and I put magnets inside with all important information and a tie little ribbons, and so my youngest son, keaton, must have put together, you know, 150 bags for me to take right, and he gets paid to do that, just like I got paid to work at the golf course. And so I do try to find things for them to do, but I no.

Speaker 1:

I don't. Plus, I probably turn us into the child labor law agencies. Oh, they probably would at this point.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I could get away. I thought my parents could get away with it A long time ago. That was a beautiful story.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for sharing that with us and thank you so much for being here on this topic.

Speaker 2:

Oh my gosh, thank you for having me. You talk about small businesses that have been successful. I'm watching somebody just continue to blossom and grow. Aliyah, you are that person and I have had such admiration for you from the very first time I came in here for a headshot for Century 21, Redwood, and I just I watch you continue to add and diversify but yet stay very true to your business model, and I think you're an inspiration for so many of you and thank you for sending me, stephanie.

Speaker 1:

I'll always be grateful for that, you're welcome, she's a gem.

Speaker 2:

She is a gem, yeah, I agree. Thank you, you're welcome.

Video Marketing Strategies and Consistency
ChatGPT and the Future of Real Estate
Real Estate Market Changes and Challenges
Success and Balance in Real Estate
Lessons From Growing Small Business
Incorporating Family in Real Estate Business