Real estate agents are not always thought of as entrepreneurs, but they certainly deserve to be when you consider that they must have the same mix of business sense, sales skills, and penchant for risk-taking as any other entrepreneur if they’re going to be successful.

I’ve spoken with quite a few real estate agents to learn about their lives working in this business, how they got into the industry, the challenges they face, and what they love about what they do. The latest is John Daly, a Realtor for Coldwell Banker Grass Roots Realty in Nevada City and Grass Valley, CA.

I asked Daly why he decided to go into real estate.

Asked what he loves about being a Realtor in the Nevada City area, Daly said, “I love real estate for many reasons. The variety of clients is always changing and each day is different. I never get bored. It has given me the income to do everything I have wanted to do, personally and with my family. I have personal freedom and can take time off. When my daughters were in school I was able to go on many of their field trips, which included such trips as a week in Death Valley. And the company I work for, Coldwell Banker Grass Roots Realty, that little startup company from 1980, is where I have worked for 35 years. They are a great team of agents and managers. Not many agents can say they have been with the same company that long. And now we own a 25% share of our market and have 4 offices.”

One of the key differences between working in real estate as opposed to another type of home-related work, such as a handyman or an inspector, is that you get to help a lot of people make major life decisions, and that can be very fulfilling. This has been a running theme through a number of the interviews I’ve conducted, but this is only one source of pride such work brings.

I asked Daly what his proudest career moment as a real estate agent has been.
Take it from John Daly. There’s a reason he’s been in this business going on four decades.
“In the 1970’s I was a High School Teacher in English and Social Studies,” he explained. “As well as teaching in California my wife and I taught in Japan and Peru in the American Overseas Schools System. At the time my Father was the owner of a Real Estate Company in Los Altos, CA (Silicon Valley). I did not want to live in the crowded Bay Area and I was not the suit and tie person that was required of a Realtor at that time. We moved to Nevada City, in the 49er Gold Rush country of the Foothills of the Sierras.”

“When we started having a family I realized that a teacher’s pay was not going to support a family in the way I wanted. A new company of young guys like myself was starting in 1980 so I joined. No suit and tie.”

“We have had three daughters and I have been able to get them through University.”

“The proudest moment for me has been through my association with CRS, the Council of Residential Specialists,” he replied. “This is a national and now world wide organization. To become a CRS you have to take a lot of education courses and be a top producer. I have been on the CRS Board for many years and am now the Vice President of the California Foothills Region. My proudest moment was being named 2007 CRS Agent of the Year for Northern California.”

Finally, I asked Daly what he considers to be the biggest challenge real estate agents face and what he does in his own career to overcome it.

“The biggest challenge in a Real Estate career is the cyclical nature of the business,” Daly said. “Periods of high activity and production and periods of low activity, sometimes for 3 to 5 years. You just have to remain positive and work each day to find clients, both sellers and buyers. You cannot sit back and wait for business to come to you. You cannot become depressed and find ways not to work. These are easy traps and it is easy to say, ‘The Market is just not good now.’ You have to continue to be out in front of people. When people ask you, ‘How is business?’ you always respond, ‘Great!’ And it will become true.”

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