Typically, business opportunities come from having access to a network of influential people. But access isn’t always available to every person. So how do you gain it if you don’t have it? How do you open a locked door?
Obstacles to access and opportunity vary. Some are huge historical barriers that require a different way of doing things. Others are internal and require individual growth. Here are the five things that have worked for me to overcome access challenges:
1. Find a mentor. That’s the number one thing that changed my life. I met my original mentor, John Allen, when my then girlfriend became his family’s nanny. Through him, I met people that continued to teach and help me. Now that I’m experienced, I believe it’s my job to mentor people new to the business. Given the current state of brokerage, we need to recruit and mentor in order to keep the necessary number of new brokers flowing.
2. Strategically and authentically build a network. My mentors introduced me to a lot of people, but I also put myself in situations where I met people on my own. I attended networking events and got involved in business, veteran, and personal interest organizations. By putting myself out there, getting involved in activities, and doing the work, I built a network. Now I know someone who knows someone who knows someone. And that opens up access to more people.
3. Prioritize meeting a wide variety of people. Not only does this influence your personal growth, but it also helps more people have access. Representation really does matter. If your door is open, invite people in, order pizza, and share it. I came from very humble beginnings, so I relate to and appreciate people who are trying to make something happen for themselves and their families. I had no idea how to build wealth when I started. I figured it out with help from my mentors and still learn from people I meet today.
4. Be confident in who you are. People talk about impostor syndrome––the psychological condition of doubting yourself, feeling like a fraud, and having a fear of being exposed. Although common––especially for successful and creative people–– it’s a destructive state of mind. Get rid of it! Talk to your mentor and/or friends, celebrate wins, focus on growth rather than perfection, and stay positive! Believe in yourself.
5. Be a person who frequently asks, “How can I help you?” Not only will you continue to learn, but new collaborations and partnerships fuel business and innovation. Giving back, helping someone out, and contributing to community are all rewarding and satisfying. It’s true that givers gain.
I was lucky in many ways, but I’m especially grateful for the people I’ve had around me in my career. I don’t take any of them for granted. It’s one of the reasons I feel so strongly about helping people realize their dreams, gain access, and benefit from each success. Email hello@cegspaces or call 612-788-1552 if you have any questions. You can find me at 612-428-3333 or email@example.com.
Jeff Salzbrun is the owner/broker of Commercial Equities Group (CEG). As a veteran-owned real estate brokerage, CEG has been involved in thousands of sale and lease transactions, ranging from single offices to 250,000+ square foot buildings. At CEG, we get your deal done. We know space, and we know the CRE business.
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