I’m excited to introduce today’s CoChic Cool Chick Olivia Carlson, owner of Olivia’s Chicago Real Estate! Olivia is one of the most hard-working, intelligent business-person I know. I learn something new from her every time I see her (and after reading her awesome interview below)! Her extremely passionate and no BS personality make her the perfect realtor who you can trust will ensure your real estate decision is as profitable as possible. Read on to learn more about why Olivia’s Chicago Real Estate is unique and to get some insightful business and real estate tips!
If you are new to CoChic Cool Chicks, welcome! CoChic Cool Chicks is an interview series, featuring women entrepreneurs who inspire me, who I am lucky enough to have in my girl boss network. These women are doing great things and whether you aspire to be an entrepreneur or not, I hope that they inspire you to do great things, too. I encourage you to check out their businesses, websites, and social media. And reach out to them, ask them questions, say hello. They’d love to hear from you!
Tell us about your business!
Olivia’s Chicago Real Estate is a full service real estate company in partnership with At Properties. We specialize in traditional real estate transactions as well as offering consulting services for real estate hedge fund investors. We walk buyers and sellers through their most important investment transactions to make informed decisions and to be as profitable as possible. Find us on Facebook here!
What made you decide to take the leap to become a business owner?
I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family. Both my parents owned their own businesses. My father and grandfather always encouraged new business ideas and how we could monetize those concepts. This was very typical discussion at our dinner table. I had always planned to work for myself. After I had worked several years in a corporate environment, I was frustrated by bureaucracy and not being in more control of my life, income and schedule. I took the leap to do real estate full time 5 years ago. I can honestly say (God willing!), that I will never work for another person again!
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
Ultimate control and flexibility. Choosing to work with whomever will make you better and smarter. No annoying co-workers! Making decisions on the fly without needing to consult a boss. Scheduling a long lunch without asking permission, yet working until the wee hours of the morning to earn the income I’d like to make. Seeing a direct return on investment.
What do you love most about being a realtor?
I love the challenge of putting together deals; Hearing both sides of the transaction and negotiating to make it come together for my client.
It certainly causes stress and can’t be sustainable for forever- but I also love the chaotic and varied quality of my days. Every single day, I have a well thought out plan in place for meetings and client interactions… and every single day, I am thrown a wild card about a transaction that requires total focus, reorganization of my schedule and renegotiation with multiple parties. It’s thrilling (but also stressful and exhausting).
It’s so fun when a client finds a gorgeous property to call their home. I have a client right now that found a total diamond in the rough after touring terrible home after terrible home. I get giddy when I think about how lucky we were to spot it first, hustle to get into the showing first, make the first offer and secure the property for her.
What is the most challenging aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I can never disappear on my business. Even though I have a solid team who are first-class professionals, all business decisions ultimately come to me and those decisions are a direct reflection on me- not a larger entity. It’s a double edge sword. Ultimate control as a choice leads to always being required to be in control.
What is your best piece of business advice?
Surround yourself with people smarter than you. Even if you just sit next to them while they work, you will learn a ton.
What makes your business unique?
I have a proprietary method of marketing properties before going on the MLS. This allows homes to have unsurpassed exposure with the benefit of not gaining market time (which often causes diminished impressions and values). It also allows sellers to test a list price without that price being reflected on public record. It creates the ability to be nimble and to move with the market. As a result, I sell homes 9 times faster and for 3% more than the average Chicago broker.
Do you have any tricks of the trade you could share with us?
Bold, contrasting patterns sell homes. When I represent buyers, they always choose to tour homes when they see images of properties that have a bold pattern in the images- like in a rug or throw pillows. Ikea and West Elm both have black and white striped rugs. When those rugs are in the images, buyers show up. Its so ridiculously minor but works!
What has been your proudest moment in your business?
Every time I am able to hire a new person for my team, I have a moment of pride. It’s thrilling to know that I have enough business to sustain another employee and to help them earn an income, as well.
How would you describe your personal style?
Classic. Details, proportion, fit and quality construction/craftsmanship are very important to me. If I find an item that fits well, I order 5 more of them. If an article does not fit well, but I love the construction or aesthetic, I will invest in having it tailored.
What does being CoChic (comfortably chic) mean to you?
When I am uncomfortable, I get irritable! Also, I don’t have time to put together interesting outfits, which I used to love to do. So, Its important that I can grab and go with a beautiful garment that will look good and be comfortable for a long day!
Anything else you’d like to share?
As I review my notes, the theme seems to be this: The things you love most about being an entrepreneur can also the things you like the least… but I wouldn’t ever trade it!