My Journey to Real Estate
Chapter 1 Do What You Love
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” This is Apple Inc.'s co-founder, chairman, and CEO Steve Jobs’ famous statement. I love this statement. It is a very true and practical statement. When you do what you love, you feel the time is flying. When you do something that you don’t like, you feel the clock is stopped. I have been exercising for almost 20 years. I love Zumba dance. If I do any other cardio exercise, in 10 minutes I will feel so exhausted and can’t continue anymore. If I do Zumba dance exercise, 45 minutes or one hour is like a piece of cake.
Imagine that you are sitting at your desk and waiting for the clock to turn from 9 to 5 every day. The boredom is killing you. Imagine that your workload is so heavy that you don’t even have time to go to the bathroom; while you are sitting on the toilet, you fall asleep. The work stress almost makes you want to commit suicide. Every day after work, your neck has pain, and your back has pain. You feel your work has become your life’s burden. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can live a happy and fulfilled life doing what you love and what you are passionate about.
Since I was very young, I always dreamed of having my own business. I grew up in China and during my childhood, the Chinese government controlled the economy; there were no independently owned businesses. After I graduated from college, China started to carry out more open policies to establish businesses partnered with foreign companies. The government also started to encourage individuals to operate their own businesses. However, by Chinese tradition, business was not for women, and business was considered a low-class job. When I graduated from college, I wanted to have my own business. Everybody objected to my business ideas. Everyone said that I was insane and that women who went into business for themselves were of low moral character. They thought that it would be a waste of my college education. Because of so many objections, I stuck in a job as a mechanical engineer working for others for 10 years. However, the dream of operating my own business and having my business ideas fulfilled always echoed in my mind.
It was not until I joined Toastmasters in America many years later that my dream began to awaken. Toastmasters is where leaders are made. Toastmasters encourages everyone to fully develop their potential and live a fulfilled life. I was pushed by our Toastmaster members to get out of my comfort zone and do what I love. Now the world is changing, more than 11.6 million firms were owned by women in the United States in 2017.1 There are 114% more women entrepreneurs than there were 20 years ago. However, globally, only 1 in 3 small, medium, and large businesses are owned by women. 2 Thanks to all the Toastmasters’ encouragement, I dared to pursue my dream and started my own real estate brokerage in 2016. I began to carry out my business plans and strategies, meet with my clients and customers, and train my sales associates. Operating my own business has increased my enjoyment of life and fulfilled my dreams. It gives me a sense of independence and enhances my creativity. If you are young and choosing a career or business for your future; if you are in the middle of your life and desire to switch your career or business, you should think about Steve Jobs’ statement and find what is your passion and what fits your talents and fulfill your dreams by doing what you love.
I always dreamed to have a business. I knew that when you start your own business, you need to register your business first. I tried to register a business in Canada before. When I immigrated to Canada and tried to study for an MBA, I decided to have an import export business. Before I went to Canada, I collected a lot of samples of products that I thought Canadians and Americans would like. It was all based on my imagination. I didn’t know any Canadians or Americans and didn’t know what they would like. It ended up that Canadians and Americans didn’t like my sample products at all. I had samples of products that were very popular in China, but Canadians thought the images on the samples represented evil. I had to contact the manufacturers in China to redo my samples. When I was in Canada, I studied in the library every day and asked the librarians where I could contact some companies that I thought could be my potential clients. One of the librarians was very kind, and she showed me all the client indexes that I needed. Now I still recall her kindness and encouragement. She is a typical Canadian woman, well-educated with very soft and delicate skin. She told me that I could come back any time to get more information. I wrote down a few companies and called and emailed them and made appointments. At that time there were no smart phones and no text messages. I lived in Vancouver, and the transportation in Vancouver is very convenient. You can jump on the sky-train and reach anywhere in 5 or 10 minutes. The first time I interviewed one customer, he gave me some of his samples which were similar to the samples that I brought him. I sent his samples to China and asked the company in China to make them. However, I found my English was so limited that I could not communicate very well with my client. Therefore, the next time, I brought a friend with me who is Canadian and can speak English very well. However, he did not know anything about the international trade business. Together we went to an interview with the client, who is a huge wholesale businessman. He was very interested in a few of my samples, and we talked about the international trade terms and shipment. My English was so awful that I could not understand anything about the shipment terms, except I knew he was asking CIF, C&F, or COF. These are all international trade shipment terms.
After the interview, when I got home, I was half excited that my business had a good start, but half disappointed because of my poor English. Once you discover that you have an area of weakness, then you should go to work to improve it. I decided that I needed to improve my English first so that I can communicate better with my clients. Canada has an immigration office where you can reach out anytime if you need help. I went to this immigration office and told a woman there that I needed to improve my English in order to do my business. This woman gave me an address and brochure for an English language school, and she told me this school is free. I thought that would be wonderful because I could save on my living expenses and also study English while I was operating my business. Actually, this school is operated by a Christian organization that voluntarily helps immigrants to improve their English and also helps anyone else who wants to improve their skills and get back to work. This school is not only teaching English; it also teaches the Bible. Every day we studied 20 minutes in the Bible and the rest of the time we learned other subjects, such as Canadian history, government, geography, etc. I had so many doubts and questions about the Bible. Later after school, I went to some neighborhood church services. I remembered the church had two services in the morning. The earlier service was hosted by a Senior Pastor and the second service was hosted by a younger Junior Paster. I also remembered that I had a neighbor who was a Catholic priest. When I went to church every Sunday, I saw him dressed up in all his church costumes for his church. I went to two schools at the same time. I had to catch the Skytrain at the exact time in order to make it to both schools. Sometimes if the morning school class went late, I would be late for the afternoon class. Twice the teacher for my afternoon class shut me out of the class because I was late. It was a period of hard times. However, I think because I was getting close to God, it made my life easier. Every good thing comes from God. Because I was studying the Bible, I had so many questions. The man who is my husband now had once been my Bible teacher. He is so patient, and every day teaches me Bible verses and stories. In the end, the business I tried to start in Canada failed, and I married my husband and immigrated to America. Did my business dream die after all of that? Absolutely not. You never give up your dreams.
1. Nawbo.org, https://www.nawbo.org › resources › women-business-.... Women Business Owner Statistics | NAWBO (Accessed March 5, 2022)
2. Maddie Shepherd, “Women-Owned Businesses: Statistics and Overview (2021)” Fundera.com, https://www.fundera.com › resources › women-owned-... (Accessed March 5, 2022)
My Journey to Real Estate Page 1 to 5. To be continued......