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I'M Onyi Silmon

My purpose as a luxury real estate agent is to help you build a legacy which speaks to who are you.

By inspiring you to live a life where there are no limits.

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Fashion To Real Estate: How Failure Helped Me Find My Calling

Published September 27th, 2019 by The Silmon Group

I talk a lot about how I got started in real estate but I have never written about it. I mean for goodness sake I have a lifestyle blog and yet I have never wanted to write about it! Why? 

Well, I thought who wants to hear it and while the story ends with triumph it is rife with my failures.  Those feelings and memories were not something I was ready to relive on paper until now. 

I have learned so much personally and professionally working as a real estate agent and it is safe to say it is one of my life’s greatest experiences. Real estate has allowed me to evolve in so many ways I did not believe possible before. One of which being my perspective on failure. 

Failure can feel like a punch in the gut and even if you see it coming or attempt to avoid the hit, when it lands it hurts a lot more than you thought it would. However with every hit comes a silver lining. This lining only presents itself if you are willing to get up and stay in the fight.   Because when you do you develop the ninja moves needed to avoid that punch the next time.

Interestingly enough,  it is this failure that brought me to real estate and without it I wouldn’t be in this amazing and dynamic industry I am so passionate about.

A Seed Planted In the Form of Another Agent

As an agent I am cautious not to bad mouth anyone in my industry.  First, it’s just plain bad business in my opinion. Second, agents are some of the hardest working people on Earth. People see shows like "Million Dollar Listing" and think agents walk away with bags full of money for very little work. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. What is not shown on these shows is the multiple calls, events and emails an agent has to hustle to get one client. 

I say this to remind myself and you to give my fellow agents grace because I know how hard it can be. I am also aware of the negative perceptions outside of the real estate world. Unfortunately, it is not far from the truth, some agents deign to put their interest above their client’s. 

Like the agent, who doesn’t return your phone call in a timely manner. Perhaps like the agent that tells you what you want to hear just to get your listing.  Or in my own case, the agent whose mistakes jeopardize my earnest money.  

Finding a home for a family is so much more than an agent’s next sale. It is where a family will  lay their head down after a long day at work. It is where they will make traditions to pass on to their children. It is where they will build memories that will shape who they are. A family’s home is important and if  an agent does not have this boldly imprinted on their heart and mind things get missed. 

It was during this time that I became a strong advocate for my family. Thank goodness for the internet! Google and I became tight during that time. Armed with my computer and an ardent desire to not get bamboozled. I navigated the process of buying a home as best as I could without an expert by my side.

Something unexpected happened in my search.  I realized I actually enjoyed researching the  Houston housing laws and how to negotiate my contract. You know,  the kind of joy that makes you work thirteen hours straight and it doesn't feel like it.

It was a whole new world being laid before my eyes. I heard that tiny voice of wisdom say, “hey this is kinda fun wouldn’t it be cool if you did this all the time” 

But “Logical Lily” began to speak.  That is the name I give to the more critical and negative part of you that comes out and wants to speak some “sense” into you whenever a dream is sparked within you. She said, “Girl bye, do you know that real estate agents are based on commission. “Plus that is so cheesy there are like a million bajillion real estate agents, who do you think you are?”

I did not allow this to deter me from doing some research though. Later I spoke to a broker who gave me Gary Keller’s book "Millionaire Real Estate Agent" which I consumed in days. But my fear of the unknown prevented me from taking the next step. Just like the book I put aside in my closet, I decided that Logical Lily was right I needed to move on.

Fashion Hero To Fashion Zero

I told myself I couldn’t be a real estate agent, that I needed benefits and a steady paycheck. I couldn’t wrap my head around it then. 

I just wanted a job that would allow me to keep money in the bank and allow me opportunities to advance. I found this in the world of retail sales. 

I have always been a natural salesman. Growing up I was the queen of the perfect sales pitch to convince my dad  why I deserved another purse despite the one hanging in my closet. After college, I did various sales jobs from selling wine to selling makeup. 

Finally I settled in luxury retail sales. I love luxury items not because of the prestige or the price point. All of that is great. What fascinates me most is the reason why people buy a luxury item. I believe they buy it for the experience and how it makes them feel about who they are.

Besides, luxury companies have a unique responsibility in justifying their expensive price tag. The only way they can do this is by creating a sense of belonging to something that is impossible without their products or services.  

Michael Kors was the first luxury retail company I worked for and I loved being there at first. Talking to clients and selling items that I believed in seemed so right.

But six months into the job I developed “the itch”. There was a voice that said I wasn't supposed to be there and I needed to find something else to do. I did not listen, I mean what else was I supposed to do, I had a job and I was not miserable. At least that was my thinking at the time.

Eventually, the restlessness became overwhelming and I could not stay at Michael Kors. At the time I thought  it was due to the lack of challenge in my role.  So I searched for a position that would allow me more responsibilities. I eventually got that chance with Gucci

I was in heaven at first when I worked for Gucci. I mean I was in a leadership position. I could work my way up the ladder. The money was incredible and I was apart of an incredible luxury brand I had respected for years.

However, “the itch” returned, a quiet gnawing in my heart telling me to move on. I didn't want to hear it at the time. My mother had  been a nurse for 35 years, yet I could not stay at a job for longer than a year without feeling like I was in the wrong place! 

I refused to leave Gucci even though I knew  it was not a good fit for me. The money and prestige would not allow me to consider that I was unhappy. Despite eating and stressing myself into an early grave. Coupled with a strained relationship with family because I spent most of my time at work trying to make bosses and coworkers happy despite not being happy within myself. 

Back then I would crave my one hour break so I could get away from my job to breathe and be myself. It was during these times I would pin for something I couldn't quite fathom. Feeling like I was meant for something different. But Logical Lily would chime in like clockwork and say, “child you have a good-paying job with great benefits you better be grateful.

Logical Lily was right I needed to get back to work no matter how much it was eating me up and just suck it up. Perhaps I just need to work harder. So that is what I did. I was determined to be the top in the company so I wrote more letters. I made more calls. I sold more items all with the hope that the voice that was making me unhappy would quiet down.

One day after a long weekend off I was let go. Lately, my boss had not been happy with my job performance. He called me into the office to tell me I had left the store safe open despite my denial.

I sat there as two of my superiors listed all the reasons why I did not belong at the company. I did not argue because in that still quiet part of my soul, I agreed with them, our reasons were different but I agreed all the same. I had no clue where I belonged, but I knew it wasn’t there.

I walked out of the store confident things would be okay despite being fired from the job I was previously ecstatic to have. As I walked back to my car Logical Lily started talking to me again. 

“Girl you got fire, gosh you are such a loser.” “Who gets fired from this job only you.” “They are right what they said in there about you.” 

As I entered my car I started to cry and worse started believing the critical voice in my head. 

It took awhile but I calmed down, drove home and got on the computer to look for my next job.

Dazed And Confused

I went to interview after interview. Each time I walked into another store I felt as if I was wearing lead shoes. As I sat there speaking with hiring managers on why I believed I was the right person for the job deep down I didn’t really believe that anymore.

I knew I didn’t belong but I had no idea what to do next. I thought to myself,  I am the fashion girl and I am supposed to work in the fashion industry. That was who I was I can’t be anything else right? Or so I thought.

I remember coming home from one of these interviews and seeing Gary’s book tucked away in the closet like it was waiting for me. I picked it up and read it again like an old friend I had lost contact with. My heart swelled from the words in the book.

I loved the systems it talked about. I loved how it revealed  the endless possibilities to create a business that was mine to direct in whatever way I felt called. However, with no job, it seemed crazy to consider something as reckless as a career as an entrepreneur.

One day after turning down a job, I called my mom frantic. I told her I couldn't keep doing these interviews.. I told her I read this book on real estate and I felt I was meant to do that. I asked her if I was reckless in feeling this way? My mom told me to calm down and that she would pray for me.

Days later my mom called me and told me she had been praying about it and thought that I should pursue this calling. Since  a mother always knows her child she knew that I wouldn’t tell that inner critical voice to take a hike unless I had sure footing to do so.

So my mom offered to pay for me to get my real estate license and the rest is history as they say.

Fashion Zero To Real Estate Student

I studied hard, took my exam and passed on the first try. I knew after reading Gary’s book I wanted to be a Keller Williams agent. I interviewed various locations l and settled with the best fit to who I am. 

Being a real estate agent has opened my eyes to so many things about myself and others that I do not believe I would have learned in another profession.  This career has given me a drive  to build something larger than myself. To build something  that may not  fit a particular mold but ultimately strives to serve my clients’ needs.. That’s the beauty of being an entrepreneur.

I will not say I lived happily ever after because that would mean my story has ended. It hasn’t, it is just beginning.

I am still learning and growing everyday. I can tell you one thing though, for once my soul is at rest and my heart feels expansive with all the possibilities that await me if only I continue to remain open to them.


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