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Ryan Serhant, Founder and CEO of SERHANT.

Photo courtesy of SERHANT.

Star of Million Dollar Listing New York and Sell It Like Serhant, Ryan Serhant exhibits true entrepreneurial DNA. He knew he had to make it in one of the world’s biggest economic and business hubs, New York City, despite the pressures of big city life. And not just get by but thrive!

Serhant spoke on his struggles while building his career and how he manages everything. He also shared his perspective on personal branding in the real estate industry, and the innovative vision behind SERHANT.

Tell us a little bit about your earlier struggles in your journey.

Real estate is an incredibly local business, despite how global the buyer, the people base, and our marketing is. Real estate is bought and touched. I’m not from New York. That was the initial challenge. I would get lost. This is before everyone had an iPhone. I would have to have MapQuest directions printed out in my pocket. I also didn’t know anyone here. I tell every new real estate agent when they get into the business to look at your immediate sphere of influence, the network you could start working with right now. Is it people you went to school with, people from your last job, or just friends from the gym?

You are 100 per cent an entrepreneur. You make your own hours; you decide to go to work or not. I didn’t even know how to set expectations for myself. I was just thinking about making enough so I could cover my expenses. Every day was hard. I quit the business every single day. I had clients yell at me, leave me on the streets. It was tough.

Between penning books, running a full-time real estate business, media appearances on television, and managing social media accounts, how do you manage to not be overwhelmed?

I have a lot of help. One of the early secrets I learned about being an entrepreneur is leveraging others. In Sell Like Serhant, the book and the course, one thing we teach is something we call FKD — Finder, Keeper, Doer — which is how an entrepreneur should structure their day. You’re finding business, keeping current business, and then you’re doing the work. I am a finder of business all day long.

I have other people who do the keeping and the doing for me. I have a personal assistant, a systems assistant, and an email and communications assistant. I have three assistants who help me just live my life every day. I then have entire teams around me who can help me do everything. I mean, SERHANT. is now about 200 people, and it’s growing all the time.

You talk about personal brand development in real estate as one of the qualifiers of success in the industry. What are the foundations of personal branding, according to you?

Personal branding is broken down into three sections. It is core identity, consistent content or messaging, and shouting it from the mountaintop. If you think about it, what branding really means is knowing implicitly, in your core, who you are. What is your personal brand?

My brand is real estate and media. For others, it might be real estate and family, or real estate and knowledge. Maybe they’re just really smart, and they really know data. You then have to take that [and] create content — either video, photo, or thought leadership articles for LinkedIn, or become a contributor to your local newspaper — to get your name out there in the world.

Every success you have, tell everybody about it. As you start talking about yourself and putting yourself out into the world, that changes the world’s perception of you. That perception turns into your reputation. When people talk about you when you are not around, that reputation transcends into personal brand.

Can you share more about SERHANT.’s vision with a focus on original content creation, training and courses for real estate professionals, as well as media studios?

Our business is a flywheel. We create content all day, every day. That content helps acquire customers, who are salespeople and people who need salespeople. Those salespeople train with us before becoming SERHANT. agents, or they work with our brokerage where we’re licensed. Then, people who need salespeople — buyers, sellers, developers, vendors — are connected to our agents. They have success, new reasons to create content, and ‘round and round’ we go. 

This interview originally appeared in the summer 2022 issue.

Arslan Ahmed | Staff Writer

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