Working as a Pilates instructor reminds you how sometimes there’s really no dividing line between personal friendships, social connections, and business networking. A little over three years ago, Dave came into my Pilates of Boulder studio with that typical first-timer timidity. I started talking to him and it was clear that he had watched some Pilates videos or read some blogs but didn’t really know what he was doing. It was undeniably charming. I went over and introduced myself as I try to do with all my new pupils/clients either before or after their first class.
Pilates or Yoga, It’s the Mind-Body Connection
Turns out Dave is a Realtor. You want to talk about a high-stress, hyper-competitive career in which you’re all but inevitably going to experience feast and famine? Try being a realtor in Denver. But Dave had it worst than most. He had gotten into real estate in 2012 when the local housing market was just starting to heat up again. Some early luck with a couple properties sort of launched him into greater success early on. He had all the basic components of an online portfolio (website, FB page, etc.) but he wasn’t affiliated with a major agency and it seemed like he was overrun by the fancy data analytics and corporate marketing. Then, while prices have kept going up, home sales themselves are actually down because the inventory is so low. Then, if you’re working with buyers, things get even more dicey. Buyers’ agents share their clients’ frustrations when several properties are bid on or even have offers accepted that then fall through for one reason or another. Plus, buyers have preconceptions based on what happened with their friends or maybe they’re working with razor-thin financing and stretching their budget because it seems like that’s what everybody has to do to buy a home anymore in Denver.
In time, I would realize Dave’s timidity at that first Pilates class was usually more of a high-functioning anxiety. I would also get the impression that Dave would have gone to a yoga class instead of Pilates except for the notion that Pilates is more about strength and muscle-building and, thus, more masculine than yoga. He said he was there to start up an exercise routine and get back in shape, which is a common enough reason, but I think he was really there to calm down his mind. He now clearly admits that the mind-body connection is one of the big health reasons he enjoys Pilates so much. He’s even started a tandem meditation practice.
An Altered Perspective Leads to Major Changes and Personal Benefit
What started out as a valve to relieve the pressure seemed to slowly transform his temperament. He might have traded a pound or two of fat for muscle, but the physical transformation was less dramatic than the mental one. It also led to a change in Dave’s professional life. Getting less and less return on his time and effort, Dave decided to close the doors on his independent realtor business and joined a new start-up real estate company, TRELORA. Along with the general stress and pressure of being a realtor, what else had started to wear on Dave’s nerves was taking his 3% commission on a home in which he knew the buyers were likely to struggle at some point to pay the mortgage. Again, not that he was making money hand over fist and being house-poor is also becoming a necessary evil of living. But the whole thing was really starting to wear on him.
TRELORA, in contrast, has a flat-fee commission structure that charges $2,500 (plus the buyer’s commission), which turns out to be a big chunk of savings. As a traveling Pilates instructor, I wasn’t hungry and homeless exactly, but I haven’t exactly been able to pad my retirement savings, either. Dave was the one who talked me into using the agency to sell my parent’s old house. “There’s no reason to think you’ll get a lower offer with a flat-fee realtor, but more than that, there’s less stress worrying about trying to wring every last dollar from a buyer to justify that 6% commission.” In the end, the extra $25k or so I estimate I got from the house sale really came in handy. But it also served as a great reminder that, in this sort of business, making new personal and social connections is inevitable and inevitably part of the business.