What makes someone leave the corporate world to jump head-first into the exciting but unpredictable world of real estate? According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 82 percent of agents got into real estate as a second career. Not all of us are made to stick to a 9-5 way of thinking- some of us are determined to do more than put money in someone else’s pocket. Read on to find out how Jennifer Steere left her corporate career in sales and retail to take control of her life and pursue what she was truly passionate about. She shares her story of breaking free and becoming more than just one-of-a-million.
I have always been a “people person” and every single job I have had has been serving others. Even early on I worked in restaurants and at Six Flags and enjoyed it because it gave me the opportunity to work with people. I grew up in St. Louis and am a huge Cardinals and Blues fan. I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in business fashion merchandising and started working in retail.
After a couple of retail management positions, I moved into the sales support area working for Amoco Oil Company in St. Louis. After moving back to Iowa for my husband’s job opportunity, I moved into sales support and then management of sales support at School Specialty, a school supply company. That was a great experience and helped prepare me for what was next. I learned pricing and estimating, as well as selling skills and problem-solving.
After working for corporate companies and feeling like things didn’t always make sense, as well as not having full control of my career, I decided that I would finally pursue my interest in real estate. I knew that whatever success or failure I would have would be my own.
Taking Control of My Career and Life
I have the control to change lives and assist people with the biggest purchase of their lives. My dad was also interested in real estate so we would visit open houses and talk about pricing. I also knew that I wanted the flexibility to be able to do anything necessary to spend time with my two boys and husband.
Transitioning into real estate was very smooth. I started with a small company and after two years realized I needed more. I love the franchise aspect so it was a great transition to CENTURY 21.
I have been in real estate for 15 years so there have been many challenges but the one that stands out is constant learning. I have said this is not a part-time job. Keeping up with this ever-changing profession is so important- from marketing to social media to lending practices to rules and regulations. It’s a must! I challenge myself every day to learn something new.
Real estate allows me to meet so many people! I tell my clients that without this profession, we probably wouldn’t have crossed paths and for that I am grateful. I also say that this is the hardest part of the job. I’m with a client and their family for a few months and get to know them well while we look at homes. Then we close on a house and I don’t see them regularly. That is one thing I like about Facebook- following all my clients’ life changes. They are always in my thoughts.
A New Chapter Unfolds
Work-life balance has always been my biggest challenge. Up until recently, my work-life balance consisted of spending time with my boys. I made sure to go to every sport or school event and was there for them before and after school. They both recently graduated from college and are starting their careers.
While I feel a huge sense of pride and accomplishment knowing they are on their own, it moves me into my next chapter. Finding the things that give me purpose is an area I am working to perfect at this point. I played tennis in high school and college and still enjoy watching it on TV. Going to the U.S. Open is on my bucket list! I love reading and enjoy my book club family so much. I like the outdoors and occasionally going out on the boat to fish with my husband.
Real estate can be very challenging but also super fulfilling. The advice I would give someone who is unhappy in their current professional situation would be to look at what makes you happy. Everyone is different.
Ready to break free of the mundane and build your life the way you want it to be? Find out more about what it means to join the relentless team at C21®. Check out our website to learn how to build a successful real estate business.