My Own Brokerage? What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger!

Real Estate Broker with The Momentum Group
Sometimes adversity sneaks up on us. We think that we have a plan and, suddenly, the world shifts and we are left scratching our head and wondering, 'what next?'
Over 10 years ago, I was coming off of 8 years of being a stay-at-home mom. Prior to making that choice, I had been in the high pressure world of software, first in development and later sales. When I decided to go back to work, I knew I would not go back into software. I had had my real estate license, although it was inactive, for a number of years. It seemed like an easy way to start back into the work world (ha!ha!).  I wasn't sure how it was all going to work. I still had 3 young children at home and a husband who traveled. There wasn't a clear picture in my mind of the road ahead.
I opted to join a small, privately-held firm. Things chugged along there very successfully while I defined how this new career was going to take shape. One day, however, the rug was pulled out from under me. I came to an office meeting only to be told that effective immediately, we were going to a lead generation system and we would be required to be 'on-call' to this system at all times. Hmmm, not being sure how this would work for me--and not really interested in running my business that way-- I soon let them know I would be leaving.
There weren't a lot of comparable firms in my area (small, privately held, but with good broker support), but I eventually found one. My Managing Broker at the previous company, also not interested in the new business model, came with me to the new firm in the same Managing Broker role. Once on board with this new firm, I noticed some things that seemed 'not quite right,' and for a little while, I let it go. When it became obvious that the Principal Broker was not running the business in a way that I thought supported my client's best interests (or mine), I decided I needed to leave and I began looking around. Again.
All along my managing Broker and I had been discussing the possibility of one day starting our own firm. When she also decided to leave the new firm, suddenly,  that day seemed to have arrived. I didn't want to change firms AGAIN, unless I knew it was going to work. I was already concerned about what my clients, and future clients, would think about so many changes in such a short time. Obviously, I knew that  starting your own firm is no guarantee of success, but I thought that if it didn't work out, it was a much better story than just jumping from firm to firm (although, honestly, I never really considered that option).
Seven years later, Momentum Realty is still serving the real estate needs of Northern Virginia. It has been a Momentum Realty, Northern Virginialearning experience, stressful at times, but a labor of love, too. I have learned a lot of things from this experience, but there are two big lessons that stand out in my mind:
  1. Problems arise, it is up to you to determine how you deal with them
  2. There is never a perfect time to take a risk; sometimes you just need to go for it!
When I hear people complaining about their situation, whatever it might be, I can't help but think that you either make a change or accept where you are. I have never understood the mentality of staying in an unhappy situation and complaining. There are always things that can be changed--and hopefully improved.  Sometimes all you can improve is your attitude, but it is the one thing that you always control. 
I like the saying, 'there are no such things as problems, just opportunities for improvements.' Starting my own firm, after several disappointments, was definitely an improvement for me!
This post is an entry in the Active Rain Challenge: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger. 
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Comments 12 New Comment

Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome
HomeRome Realty-Author "Real Estate the Rome Way" 410-530-2400

Holly, Congratulations on being mentioned in this contest.  I love being a solo broker. Wishing you continued MOMENTUM in your business.


October 12, 2012 08:41 PM
Tammie White
TW Realty Group, Franklin TN
Benchmark Realty, LLC (615) 495-0752 or

Holly, I also came into real estate after being a stay home mom. I, however, was out of the work force a lot longer than you. It has been a great journey. I have often thought of starting my own brokerage. I find your story helpful to those of us who have struggled with this issue. Congrats on the mention and best wishes for continued success.

October 12, 2012 09:29 PM
Pamela Seley, REALTOR®
Menifee Lakes California Real Estate

Holly, what a great story. So many ups and downs in this business, but you decided to take a chance and go for it. Congratulations,

October 13, 2012 08:19 AM
Dörte Engel
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton
RE/MAX Leading Edge

Dear Holly,

Great story! You should definitely not accept a bad situation for the long term. If improving you attitude does not do the trick, find a different home, as you did.

October 14, 2012 06:18 PM
Susan& Charlie Ahern
Owner & Broker, Coronado Real Estate 4 Sale 619-92
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties
You are a courageous lady. I tried It But didn't succeed. Now am a franchisee again. A little less stress.
October 15, 2012 08:47 PM

Holly Weatherwax

Keller Williams Realty, Northern Virginia
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