The Power of Your Own Brand
Q&A with Aaron Brown | Side Partner & Founder of Perspective Real Estate
Aaron Brown, second from left, with his team at Perspective Real Estate.
Q: Why did you decide to build your own business and brand?
I started in the Real Estate industry in 2007, right before the start of the crash. Over the years I’ve grown my personal business and became one of the top agents in the Oakland/Berkeley market. Feeling a sense of accomplishment in that, and also longing to continue growing professionally, I was searching for an opportunity to move more into an ownership role.
The thrill of just doing it for myself started to wear off and I was ready to start flexing my muscles of working with other people and helping them grow. I attempted to do this at my prior brokerage but our visions weren’t in alignment. Guy and the Side team found me and it all clicked - an opportunity to branch out and have all of the support pieces in place so that I could just focus on doing the parts that I love doing.
"Rather than worrying about all of the minor details and all of the marketing support and broker services, I can now really focus more on building the team and helping other people grow their business."
I think at the end of the day, people hire you for you. I think that you need a brand that is professional and attractive and makes sense.
Q: What impact has this had on you personally?
It's been fulfilling to build my next chapter. I'm definitely excited about the opportunities that I've been able to create for other people and to help all of us grow.
My business has continued strong. It's also definitely re-energized and created some excitement within my sphere. I've had nothing but excitement, admiration and a shared excitement from peers, past clients, family, and friends.
"So, for me personally, it's been a lot of fun. This hasn't been without its challenges. But they're new challenges and there are things that have been easy to accomplish."
Luckily, I feel like most of the things that would've been really time consuming and difficult to figure out have been handled by Side, which has been nice. We all have strengths, Side has filled in the areas of my weaknesses and allows me to focus on what I do best. It's really great to have a substantial support team in place - I can put out the idea of what I'm looking to have done and there's a team of people who make it happen.
It’s fun and invigorating to spend time on building something that I'm directly in charge of. I get to create it with the people who are around me. It’s also fantastic to be quick and nimble, to be flexible, to move on ideas and implement them without layers of bureaucracy or old guard management.
Q: What process did you take to build your brand? How did you decide on Perspective?
So, I worked with a coach that I've worked with for over 10 years. We spent quite a bit of time working on a mission statement and values.
I didn't want to make it Aaron Brown & Co., or something like that because I don't want the focus to be all about me. I wanted to pick something that was in alignment with what I really feel like we're here to do. My brand is Perspective Real Estate, and I really feel like that's our job, is to provide our clients with perspective and guidance and empower them to make a decision that they feel really good about. That's the message that I want to translate.
For me, the values that I've built the brand upon are my personal business values. Anybody who's part of my organization needs to naturally embody those values as well. My core values are founded on customer service, on being an advocate and treating our clients like they're family members.
One of my favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Side has allowed us to focus on taking care of our clients, and focus on their experience instead of worrying about the million and one things you have to do when running a real estate company.
Q: Would you say there were risks involved? Looking back, what advice would you give to others who are considering this path?
I think anybody's risk is out of concern of feeling like they're leaving an established brand that provides them with credibility or business standing. But what I've found is that for the most part, I think people hire an individual based on that individual, not based on the name that's on their business card. And I think that's kind of indicative with all the movement that happens in the industry.
"You can easily counter the allure of a big brand with being the owner of your own company."
But you definitely need to have the drive to want to be in some form of management. To be leading, whether it's leading a team or leading a larger organization. If you don't have that drive, then it probably doesn't make sense. But if that's what’s really driving you, then it's great.