How I Built a Company That Grosses $1 Million-Plus ... Twice
the real estate, mortgage, and title space, and with no outside investment, we were able to grow it to over $1 million in sales. We grew from having only two employees to 35 within just 18 months. I felt like I had arrived, and I was only 33 years old. That business taught me two things: I loved software and the efficiency it could provide, but I didn’t love managing people. As it turned out, though, I didn’t have to manage the employees at that company for long. I won’t get into the details here, but technologies change fast, and there was an innovation in the marketplace that altered the value proposition of the company I was running. I had to close the business down and go back to working as a mortgage broker. Within two years of my reentering the world of real estate, though, the housing crisis of 2008 hit. The whole industry took a dump, and my business was no exception. When you’re used to grossing $35,000 a month, and then suddenly you’re back to grossing just $4,000 a month and there’s no hope for anything to change, you just get killed. That was a big transition for me. I really had to step back and ask myself what am I going to do next? When the mortgage crisis hit, I was crushed, financially and emotionally. I had done everything that the best financial minds were saying I should do to build wealth, and I still got hit with a crap sandwich when 2008 hit. I started I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Before I started MySMARTblog, I was in the mortgage industry for 15 years. The mortgage business is all about relationships. It’s about delivering great service so that regardless of the peaks and valleys in the market, your phone keeps ringing and you have a business that never stops producing. I took the leap and got licensed as a broker for 10 years in Oregon and Washington. I was making a mid-six- figure income for years, and I had the experience of making a lot of money and having a lot of time freedom. While I was running my mortgage company, one of my clients came to me with the idea to start a real estate advertising firm. I kept working as a mortgage broker, but we started building that technology company up on the side, and it wasn’t long until its growth started to skyrocket. For the first time, I saw the true power of software. I saw that software can make people’s lives easier and streamline processes. Our company was adding tons of value to people in I worked my way up through the ranks to managing a branch office. And then
to wonder if I had just gotten lucky. I had experienced two failures in a row — first, the technology company closing and then the mortgage business crashing.
Needless to say, it was a hard time. Thankfully, I grew up in an
entrepreneurial environment. My dad is a third-generation farmer, and we spent our summers commercial fishing for salmon. I spent my childhood knee-deep in the back of a feedlot or picking dried fish scales off my skin. I knew that real success wasn’t just about good ideas. Real success is about being willing to face failure after failure and still coming back to chase your dreams. I decided that for the second phase of my career, I wanted to do something I was passionate about. My whole life, I’ve been passionate about helping people, and I knew I could help people in the mortgage industry. I decided I would move down to Arizona, develop a training program, and teach people how to grow repeatable, profitable businesses. I was reinventing myself. Just like I’d had to do before. That’s when I read Tim Ferriss’ book “The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich.” That book changed my life. Next month, I’ll tell you why … –Mikel Erdman
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