Samantha Storey | Crain's Connecticut

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Samantha Storey

Background:  

The RE/MAX network of real estate agents was founded in 1973. The company now includes 110,000 agents working in more than 100 countries. Colorado-based RE/MAX LLC is the franchisor arm of RE/MAX Holdings Inc.

RE/MAX Coast and Country, based at Olde Mistick Village, is among those franchise locations. North Stonington resident Samantha Storey has been a RE/MAX agent since getting her real estate license in 2003. She was inducted into the RE/MAX Hall of Fame in 2014, an honor for having made $1 million in commissions over 10 years. She was president of the Eastern Connecticut Association of Realtors in 2011 and named the group’s Realtor of the Year the following year. She has chaired the association’s young professionals club and serves on the risk reduction committee at the Connecticut Association of Realtors.

Storey made waves following the November election with an ad offering to sell the houses of disappointed voters interested in moving to Canada. Born in Montreal, Storey came to the U.S. at 12 years old and remains a Canadian citizen. Now 50, Storey says getting U.S. citizenship is on her bucket list of things to do.

The Mistake:

Not saving enough money.

Before the recession I thought I had plenty of money. I thought those times would never end. I sold 24 houses in my first year. It was crazy back then. I took my kids to Red Sox games and lots of other places and we spent a lot of money.

I’ve made $1 million in commissions but where did it go? Now I’ve got a second job working as a (restaurant) server because I’ve got two college kids and expenses only go up when that happens. Business has improved but I’m on call or working seven days a week.

I’ve made $1 million in commissions but where did it go?

The Lesson:

Prepare for the bad times. Make a nest egg.

I had a lot of friends leave the real estate business. I was told that I should get a steady job. But this is what I love and what I’m good at. I love the flexibility and diversity of people I meet. Each day is different. And the happiest times are at a closing.

You’ve got to keep up your advertising where people are used to seeing you. You’ve got to have a presence. I thought print media was nearing extinction so I stopped advertising there. Then I would run in to people who asked me why I had left the real estate business so I reversed that decision.

Learning to say “no” helps in managing your money. I tend to be a people-pleaser. As a real estate agent, it’s tough to say “no” but I’ve learned to say “no” sometimes. I won’t miss my daughter’s basketball games for anything.

For the first time this year I fired a buyer. After showing them 45 houses and not making a sale I told them they should look for another agent. You have to set boundaries but be approachable. I’m approachable.

You need to develop the skin of a tiger. You can’t take business personally. Don’t get too emotionally involved. It’s just business. I’m better about that know. It was hard for me to develop that tougher skin but now I have it.

RE/MAX is on Twitter at @remax.

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