Why Jane Left a Stable Job in Finance to Launch Her Career in Real EstateService Businesses
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Jane Sha, Age 29
Jane Sha Real Estate
Phone: (323) 761-0896
Before she became a real estate agent, Jane worked a desk job in finance.
And it’s precisely her analytical and financial background that sets her apart from the everyday real estate agent.
She now excels in analyzing market trends to determine competitive market prices to help her buyers and sellers get the best deal.
Jane has developed skills to be a high performer, and through her many successful transactions, she has developed a reputation for serving her clients’ needs with compassion, efficiency, and a tireless work ethic.
She has an Economics degree from UCLA and is an avid portrait photographer. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she now calls Los Angeles her home.
Tell me a little bit about your business and how it makes money.
I help clients obtain their dream of homeownership, either through helping them buy, sell, or rent and manage their assets. My business operates in the Greater Los Angeles region.
Tell me the story of how you started and grew your business.
I wanted to get into real estate because as a kid I loved going to open houses.
I remember the memories of walking through model homes in new development communities.
I fondly remember sitting down with my parents in the sales gallery and watching them sign contracts for our new home.
It was invigorating, and I knew I was meant to do this someday.
I studied Economics at UCLA, and went on to get a financial analyst job at a Fortune 500 company. I put in my dues for three and a half years but knew that real estate was where I was meant to be.
I then got my real estate license in 2012 and decided to try it out on the side to complement my full-time job.
I quickly realized this is an industry I’m passionate about and began working at it full-time in 2014.
First my business came from friends and family, and then it slowly grew into referrals from friends and past clients.
I love that I can help my friends and their friends reach their goals in home ownership because everyone knows that in order to build wealth, you need to start with real estate.
Where do you spend most of your time while working on your business? At home, in an office, on the road, or somewhere else?
I spend part of my time in a home office, where I’m researching homes, running analysis for clients, and setting up showing appointments.
Then the majority of the time will be on the road — if you know LA, half the time is spent driving!
A lot of my clients have a ton of energy and they can see a full day’s worth of homes.
If they are concentrating on one specific area, we can see up to 10 homes in a day.
I typically like to see no more than 5-6 in a day since for many homebuyers, this can be an overwhelming process.
A lot of my work is also on the go, and I have to think quickly on my feet.
There are several times where I’m on the road with clients and they want to see a home that we didn’t plan or make an appointment for, so I do my best in getting us in the door.
I am a personal planner and match-maker. I’m always coordinating, scheduling show times, negotiating terms, and then finally making it work between the buyer and seller. It’s so much fun!
If you work from your house a lot, do you set boundaries between “work time” and “personal time”? If so, how?
In this business, work never stops. I am always ready to serve my clients.
This is especially true because I work with a variety of clientele, including foreign investors.
The time difference in working with foreign investors is tough because when it is night-time here, it’s day-time overseas. So I work around the clock.
Of course I take personal time off as well, as I love to travel. I take at least one international trip every year and fill in the rest of the year with smaller trips.
It’s just my luck because every time I’m out of town, something big always happens — a client comes to town, a buyer wants to see a property, a home goes into escrow, or even closing escrow!
I’ve learned that I can’t drop my travels and just have to go with it.
Things always work themselves out, and I deserve some rest and rebooting time.
What were you doing for a living before you started your business? Were you happy there?
I worked as a Financial Analyst at Northrop Grumman.
It was a good learning experience in the corporate world, was a stable job, and hours were good, but I ultimately left to pursue something else that I am more passionate about.
So what drove you to take the dive into entrepreneurship?
I felt that I was young and needed something to challenge me.
I saw my coworkers work 20, 30 years at the same company and then retire — I didn’t see myself doing that, so I knew I had to pursue a change.
What was the most difficult thing about starting your business and how did you overcome this difficulty?
The most difficult thing about a career in real estate is that it is commission-only. If you don’t have clients, you don’t have a business.
It can be very unstable, because you don’t know when your next paycheck will be.
It is a struggle but as I build my business and my trust in clientele, I believe the flow of business will come.
How do you market your business?
Social media nowadays is huge. This is also the kind of business where it takes time to plant your seeds and watch them grow.
My business mostly comes from referrals, so I always try to keep in touch with the people I know via Facebook, Instagram, and email updates.
When I have new listings for homes available, it is heavily marketed through online portals such as Zillow, as well as the LA Times, international portals, and my sphere of influence.
I’m also so thankful that Logan has allowed me to talk about my business here so that I can help readers like you when there is an interest for real estate investment…feel free to reach out!
Tell me about your biggest success as an entrepreneur.
I am so much happier working more hours now than I did at my first corporate job.
It’s very rewarding to know I can be happy and make double-triple-quadruple the income working for myself than putting in all of that hard work for someone else’s company.
I’m also a big believer of when opportunity and skill meets luck.
I consider myself really lucky (knock on wood) in being able to help my buyers beat out offers in multiple offer situations.
In this competitive market, most of the time you’re not the lucky winner who gets to buy the home.
Many times my buyers usually get it their first or second try.
One time, my buyer beat out 15 other offers, and our offer wasn’t even the highest bid!
That’s a huge success — to get to help my buyers win bids to get the home that they want…and then watch it appreciate in value in just a year — what a win!
If you had to write a recipe for your success in your business, what would the top two or three ingredients be?
Honesty, passion, and your network.
Many young people would love to start their own business but are afraid to leave the comfort of a paycheck every two weeks. What would you tell them?
Many people nowadays start their side hustle and then watch it grow.
Once it grows enough for you to feel comfortable in leaving your stable paycheck, then go for it!
However, I would say to really think about it and don’t jump until you have at least 6 months’ of savings in reserve.
It is also OK to have your stable job AND do a side hustle at the same time. You can do whatever you want!
About how many hours a week do you spend on your business, on average?
I work 7 days a week, about 50 hours a week.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Marine Biologist! I loved dolphins and whales. And then I wanted to be a Wedding Planner. And then a Wedding Photographer. And now look at where I’ve landed!
What’s your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?
I enjoy the flexibility of time. I know what I have to work on and can plan my work hours accordingly.
I also enjoy that I get to see the fruits of my labor and actually enjoy what I’m doing.
I see too many young people feeling stuck in their job and not being able to do anything about it.
You’re still young, you have energy, go find something you like and start small.
Slowly but surely, it will work out and you’ll be so happy you made the leap!
Do you think that any personal characteristics such as your age, gender, ethnicity, background, etc. has helped or hindered your business in any way? Please elaborate.
Being tri-lingual has definitely given me the advantage in this market.
I speak Chinese Mandarin and Cantonese.
As we all know, a lot of money has flown from Asia to be invested in the US real estate market, and it has been very advantages to be able to communicate and serve those specific clientele.
Logan and Caroline here. We hope Jane’s story inspired you as much as it inspired us!
Do you have a business or side hustle yet? If not, I suggest you check out our article 5 Side Hustles You Can Turn Into a Full-Time Business.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next featured entrepreneur on Money Done Right!
Logan is a practicing CPA and founder of Choice Tax Relief and Money Done Right. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.