Welcome to eXp Commercial Explained! This week we hosted a Power Hour with Eric Powers. Eric is a top-performing strategic leader in the commercial real estate space. He shared his secrets to success, the lessons he wishes he'd known as a junior broker, and how he plans to expand his business and income using the eXp Commercial platform.
Welcome and Introductions
James (Jim) Huang: Welcome to eXp Commercial explained. I'm James Huang, your national president for eXp Commercial, here with Stephanie Gilezan, our director of commercial brokerage operations. We are so proud that we could have everyone here today, so we can explain the powerful platform of eXp and eXp Commercial, what we're growing and building. And just like a lot of these disruptors in the market. If you've seen Uber, you've seen Airbnb, you've seen Netflix. EXP Commercial and eXp are really making that differentiator to disrupt the way commercial real estate is being done. Of the big things that we have is we are a separate commercial brokerage operation and the things that we're building on this new platform, which is Virbela, which if those that haven't had a chance to really explore our World yet, please come. Reach out to any one of us so we can really show you the power of what our platform is.
And one great thing about our company is, we really embrace technology. Technology is really the lifeblood of everything that we do and everything is around how we use technology. How do we make it more efficient? How do we help everyone communicate with each other?
One thing that you're seeing right now is we are one brokerage company, not a franchise. So that is how we are definitely organized, so our communication, the structure, the power of what we can do is very efficient. Also, with all of the commercial leaders that we have here with hundreds of years of experience in commercial brokerage, we bring it all to the eXp Commercial platform to lead, organize, communicate, and help everyone enhance their business on this platform. Very exciting! And with the live trainings that we've done, if everyone doesn't know I'm going to do a promo, but April 26th-30th, we have another commercial training, so please sign up. It is live. It's going to always be bigger and better. We're always learning from each other, learning from all the times that we're doing it and enhancing our commercial training. And Stephanie, do you want to add more about what we've done for our commercial training?
The Power of Having a Global Brokerage
Stephanie Gilezan: Absolutely. And Jim, as we talked about the power of having a national and now a global company where we're not independently owned and operated, and we're not limited to the brick and mortar that we walk into every day, what we're able to do in our Virbela World platform is to offer live commercial training. And as we all know, even though I've been in this business for 23 years, I have learned so much from being able to plug into our platform and get exposure from other powerhouses in the commercial industry to learn different product specialty types. And to make sure that if you're a junior in this business, that you have the proper training to sustain and to grow and not fall out of the business, but also, for those that are experienced, to plug into even more, because real estate is always changing, it's always evolving. There's so much technology coming out, and we want to make sure at eXp Commercial, that juniors, that brand new agents, that advisors, that senior advisor levels are all plugged into the best technology and training to succeed, to sustain this business and to grow.
James Huang: Stephanie, these are great things that we're doing because the value prop of the company. We are a separate company, not under Realty, a separate commercial brokerage company. We are powered by commercial leaders. We embrace technology. You know, I know you're going to go through all the different tools. We have the trainings. I think this month we're going to hit over 50,000 agents within our company. So there's a lot of deals, referrals, juniors, leads, opportunities that everyone could work on. And right here with the international, I've been getting calls all day from around the world, especially with the countries that we're already operating in. When is commercial coming? So we're constantly in discussions and we hope to open up North America very soon. Then the UK, and a lot of the other Commonwealth countries, and really go hand in hand with eXp Global, as they're growing the platform of eXp around the world.
And we are just going to come up with them, so we can start up commercial operations in all of the different countries. They are so excited to collaborate with us, to really bring money into the U.S. To find opportunities, to flow money outside on countries that they're looking to collaborate partner with other pieces, what the eXp platform can bring to them and then just into different countries. So it is super exciting with the international collaboration and growth and the potential, right, as we are the fastest growing brand in North America. But now as we grow around, we're going to be the fastest-growing brand around the world.
Stephanie Gilezan: It's a powerful referral network. Jim, when a commercial broker or commercial agent is able to immediately log in to over 47,000 residential agents who have opportunity, who have clients with money, but they need that commercial experience in order to get the deal done. And that is what we're seeing, not only in the U.S., but all over these different nine countries that we're open in, and soon to be 21 countries by the end of this year, is the referrals going back and forth. And that is the powerful network. So many commercial practitioners that I speak to are stuck in their offices, or this past year they've been living off of Zoom and they're like, gosh, I just wish I could get leads. I wish I could network with people. COVID never shut us down because the way we're able to plug into the platform, and not only in Verbella have those communication channels, but all the other communication channels that we have, so that you have the openness to the residential agents to truly grow your business and opportunities.
James Huang: Yeah, that's a great point. We were really set up the right where the future is, but COVID did accelerate with our platform. It made everyone look at the platform, the old school models as Eric and I, that will be coming up to speak. It has been broken and changed because of the way we do business. Those that were good commercial brokers adapted. They definitely adapted, and many we spoke with, they did stay. They said, we don't need to go back to the office anymore. We know how to work without going back to the office. So why do we need to do it? And our eXp Commercial platform was perfect for this, but Stephanie, if you want to say some of the pricing.
80/20 Commission Split, Plus $20,000 Cap
Stephanie Gilezan: The thing about eXp Commercial is we just didn't open this up with what we knew. We spent a good year doing research, interviewing over 1,500 commercial brokers and agents from all different parts of the country, from all different company representation to the small, independently owned and operated. And one of the things that we wanted to make sure this just like on eXp Realty success, eXp Realty has been successful because more money stays with the agents. The ownership of this company is with the agents. And so we wanted to launch eXp Commercial as a separate brokerage, but based on that same platform that puts money with the agent and the ownership with the agents. And so there's an 80/20 commission split, and those might exist at other companies, but we have a $20,000 cap. So no matter if you make $200,000 or $400,000, a million, $10 million in GCI, you're only going to pay $20,000 to eXp Commercial to run your business, to elevate your business.
We've got the $250 a month, which covers the tools that we offer to everyone. And as we were doing that research, we discovered, we heard from all of those around the country that wanted these certain tools. And that is our Buildout Elite CRM, which is not only our marketing center, our deal pipeline management, but also one that's going to keep you in touch with clients. It's syndicating out to over 40 commercial advertising platforms. So where the lead is going to click on Brevitas, it's going to automatically come back in and be captured into your CRM. Reonomy is another one. Most people hear of all these different data research platforms. But I will tell you this as a personal testimonial, and there are many across this country that I've proven the system to. The national data access and the sale comp and the forecasting in the public records that Reonomy is providing to us with the owner contact information right there on the screen have made my team, my real estate team, who's selling a lot of real estate, not even login to some of these other research companies that are out there because Reonomy is utilizing the public records that they're purchasing to give us that information, which is accurate. They're not relying on a call center, making these phone calls, trying to find out what the accurate data is.
It's unbelievable that rolled into our Skyslope transaction management, that rolled into all the education, that rolled into your ability to do 100% in commission, that rolled into how you can ICON, which we're going to get into a little bit later. All of that is $250 a month. And that's all it's going to cost you. No royalty fee, no other franchise fee, but it's $20,000 cap, $250 a month. And people ask me, well, what if I don't meet that $20,000 cap? That is okay. You don't owe the difference. If all you pay in is $8,000 because it's your first year or your second year or your 10th year, that's all you've had to pay in. And that's important, Jim.
James Huang: Very important, and giving the opportunities to, like you said, ICON, if you make half a million dollars, you'll get your money back in stock. Many commercial brokers, all our ICONs after a certain amount of time and years, but also with the technology. We're constantly asking just what the $250 is the tools that Stephanie showed you, what you get. But we are working with almost every single tech company out there to put relationships and deals together. So we can all, a la cart, right? Because some people are going to do transactions. Some people are going to do leasing. Some people are going to do business op, which you can do in eXp Commercial. So with all the different product types and expertise, there are different tools you need, right? But we knew with the $250, those were the basic tools that you could work with.
And then from there, we are negotiating because of the scale and the prestige of our firm, more and more people want to work with us and figure out how can they use and plug into our technology, into our firm as we are the fastest growing residential, and commercial company too, in the country and hopefully, the world, as we're putting all these pieces together. It is just so exciting. Negotiating, bringing all the tools. I know Stephanie, we're putting this puzzle together so you have all the tools and everything you need with all the trainings so you can be an expert, right?
We were just talking about mentorship. So if you're new to this business, we are putting a mentorship program together to make sure if you're a junior, you can be, as Stephanie said, guided to be a senior commercial broker and then really give back to everyone else. But Stephanie, I know you've been here longer. How does the equity, how does being in the business three short years, what has it done for you?
Stephanie Gilezan: You know, Jim, and I built an independent real estate company that was extremely successful. And I owned a franchise prior to that, that I sold, but you know, three and a half years ago, I was being approached by every brand out there wanting to purchase my real estate company. But when they wanted to purchase me, they wanted to give me a lump sum. And they wanted me to stay committed for 10 years. I had to stay there and continue to operate that business with them being the owner. And I said no to that. And I'm so glad I did because February 5th, 2018, is when I rolled myself and my brokerage into this company. And because you truly earn equity and shares of stock as you do what we always do. You earn shares when you close your first transaction. You earn more shares of stock when you fully cap. You earn shares every time you sponsor an agent into this company that has their first transaction, and because for three years straight, and it'll be the fourth this year, that I have earned over $500,000 in GCI, I will get my entire cap back in stock.
Jim, because I did that, I'm going to tell you the equity shares of stock that I've earned in the last three years are four times worth what anyone wanted to buy my company for. I still own myself. And now I own a larger company. I own a lot of pieces of a larger company. And so, you know, I'll be honest. My stock is almost $3 million. Nobody was gonna pay me $3 million for my brokerage.
James Huang: Stephanie, stop making me jealous because I was old school where I was working at one of the largest firms. And a lot of times I like to reverse engineer everything and seeing what I would have been worth. And then I grew another company after I left Marcus and Millichap, where I cut my teeth and learned the business. Then I started my own boutique regional firm, which did really, really well. And then I was like, oh my gosh, all I had was liability. I lived through the 2009 recession, but oh, tons of overhead during that time. I know our next guest speaker, Eric, understands, and going through this did make me stronger. It did let me understand, but it also showed me the opportunity of eXp and the platform and what it meant because before being a broker/owner, owning our own firm, growing our commercial real estate, you know, with all the competition, without the scale and everything else, even though we had a great culture, a great group of people, over, at our height, 180 commercial brokers doing about $2 billion in sales. If I would have done what you did, you are the winner on this, and even franchise operations, I understand how that works.
I just say if you can't compete with us and go against our model, then you better figure out a way to join us because we are coming and we are coming strong. And we understand most of the leaders here understand the power of this platform and the technology, but the rev share plan. I mean, I'm just starting to get a little scratch into it but just for those that are a part of eXp, just by announcing, I always believe in just sharing what you're doing to other people. You're not trying to sell, just sharing. And it always takes time because are people that I've learned when I've come over, I took three years to come over, and I wish I would've done it earlier now because the people I knew, like yourself, that started earlier, they grew some phenomenal amounts, and I'm not going to call out some of their numbers. But if you do like what we do in commercial real estate, hustle, work, treat this as a business, treat this as a job, don't wake up at different hours, but you know, have a schedule. You could be very successful because all of the skillsets that we were taught doing commercial real estate at the large firms and the discipline. Oh my gosh. Can you just explain how rev-share will work for everyone?
"I just say, if you can't compete with us and go against our model, then you better figure out a way to join us because we're coming!"- James Huang, President, eXp Commercial
Stephanie Gilezan: Absolutely, and being that former broker/owner of my own company, I was always getting a split from the agents. That's what the broker/owner gets. We get a cut of everybody's transactions, but we're also the ones that are fully responsible for that overhead and the liability and all the office rent or mortgage payments and staff and all of those things, all the tech, all the websites. So my third month at eXp - my third month - I made more in revenue share than what I would have made by getting 20 or 30% off those agent transactions. So it is absolutely possible. The brilliant thing about it is that revenue share doesn't have overhead attached with it. That's, what's beautiful. So, even if the revenue share is half or a third or an eighth of what a broker/owner would have gotten, you've got to remember, you're getting a pay raise when you get rid of that liability, and when you're getting rid of that overhead. And the thing I love a lot about revenue share is that we're all strong in our market. We all know how to build a business. But I was so localized when I came into eXp because that's how we're trained. We work in our markets, right? I mean, we might do referrals and deals, but I have been able to take what I would call Stephanie Gilezan and put it all over the country. Because when I look at my revenue share group, we have got people from Mexico, France, practically every state in the United States, Canada. And what's so wonderful is that revenue share as they're closing transactions. I may not even know them. I may not know what they look like. I don't know what kind of deals they're doing, but if I see them closing transactions, my revenue share is building each month. It's auto deposited right into my bank accounts. And it's like, I'm doing real estate in six different countries, but I'm not doing real estate in six different countries. And that is how this model works. It's based upon exactly what we started out saying, this is an agent-centric company. How can we put more money into the agents, into your pockets? And revenue share is a huge one because it puts every single person in the broker/owner position without the liability, without the overhead and without the responsibility of having to constantly be agile and change up your business model.
James Huang: This is a little bit about how the revenue share will work. And please ask your sponsor or anyone that's interested, or reach out to us if you want to really know how this works. As I said, how I reverse engineer, I use these numbers. I'm sure our guest speaker today probably has done the same as he's very analytical and very strategic - which I love - about figuring it out and seeing how and what works with whatever you're doing. And then, like we said, with the eXp World, we have so many events on this. We've done our training here where we trained, our first time 1,700 agents were registered. We've had over a thousand every time. We trained at least 600, 700 commercial agents, new commercial agents who are training. We did it again with 25 registered at the highest, 2,300 people were attending, watching. And then we had about a thousand people trained. This time, April 26-30th, we hope to get 5,000 people to be in as registered and hopefully training as many commercial agents to learn.
Stephanie Gilezan: What's so great about that is that you don't have to be affiliated with eXp Realty or eXp Commercial to come in and tap into this training to get your NCREA certification. We want to expose education to everyone out there in this business. That's part of what this company is about, is that we all collaborate because we're agent owned. We all share in each other's successes because we want to do that. Well, we also want to reach out. And for those of you who don't have the training opportunities at your brokerage, come and share. We're happy to give. We're all about giving back to the entire real estate community.
Savings With eXp Agent Healthcare
James Huang: This is actually such an important one with healthcare because when I was running my first firm, I cared about my agent. Actually, that's why in 2009, instead of saving myself, I actually saved my agents and my employees because of just what was going on, right? I didn't want to lay people off. I didn't want to close down the company. So I made really hard choices, but these are also the hard choices of healthcare expenses that have gone through the roof. Of those agents that are 1099, that don't have a health care plan, or are not on their spouses, it's very costly. By watching the eXp healthcare plan, I've actually seen it drop in half. Many people have significant savings through this, and I am just amazed that they put this together at that pricing. And I just said, this is why eXp has been one of Glassdoor's "Best Companies to Work For," because they're always agent-centric. How do we help the agents? How do we improve the agents? How do we give them a better experience and make them happy? Because when you're happy doing your job, like you and I, we wake up 10, 12, 14 hour days and we love doing this business. We love supporting the eXp Commercial agents and the Realty agents because it is just a great company to work for. We do work very hard, but it works well.
Stephanie Gilezan: Well, absolutely, and I do want to comment on healthcare one more time. You know, that's just one more example of why being with a national global company gets you the buying power that the smaller businesses can't ever seem to get. And so that was huge and important for us because that is one of the biggest problems when it comes to licensed real estate agents, we're self-employed people, is to be able to get those group discounts, which is what we were able to pull off.
No Referrals Go Unpacked
Stephanie Gilezan: Workplace is just one more way that we're able to instantly communicate, advertise, share our listings, get help, get coaching, broadcast these videos that we're doing today. It is our internal communication channel that eXp Commercial and eXp Realty share together so that, even though we're separate brokerages, we can share a platform so that the deals can go back and forth and no referrals go unpacked.
James Huang: If you are interested in eXp Commercial and just wanting to learn more, we do have our National Commercial Meetings. We have one this Friday coming up. Please ask whoever invited you to get a guest pass so you can come in to see our National Commercial Meetings. Also, I'm proud to announce that today we are going to launch the first of our product specialties on multifamily. We're going to create at least 12 to 15 different product specialties. So, if you have access to the World today or ask your sponsor, you can actually get a pass to come in to see at 9:30 a.m. PT in the commercial auditorium, our multifamily group talk about it. And every week, we have eXp Commercial Explained every Thursday at 8:00 a.m. PT, and the commercial training that we announced April 26-30th. And as Stephanie said, you do not have to be an eXp agent. Please reach out to the person that invited you to come to this meeting or any friends to get a guest pass so you can take the one-week training.
eXp Commercial Welcomes Eric Powers
James Huang: Next, I'm very excited to introduce our special guest today, Eric Powers. Eric has over 14 years of experience at NAI. He was the Western regional VP and his duties were to support best practices and recruiting for NAI Global and the Western United States in Hawaii and Alaska. That's why he's so strong. Stephanie, I'll just tell you this man is just more than that. He is an entrepreneur, a visionary, I mean, so much experience. I just love talking with him. Literally, we talked for a couple of hours about this, and actually, Eric, we've run into each other before because we were both in Southern California, but I just want to say a little of your highlights. You are so strong in commercial estate and healthcare finance. You are an executive kind of coach and leader to CEOs, presidents, and the C-suites, and you understand technology and how to build funnels, scale and grow. I mean, your experience is so vast and literally, I know what you're doing now. One thing I want you to do is kind of share your journey and what got you into commercial real estate.
Eric Powers: Well, thanks, Jim. Yeah, it just seems like a couple of weeks ago we were sitting on a rooftop in Newport Beach talking for hours, and then it got dark on us. You know, I've got real estate, commercial real estate specifically, is in my DNA. My family has been involved, and I'm still managing properties that our family bought two generations ago in California. I left California on January 1st of last year. I was recruited by a private equity firm to come and be the CEO of a couple of companies in Charlotte, North Carolina. I looked at the difference in state tax between North Carolina and California, and it was a fairly easy decision to be on a lake with my own dock and actually not have to go into massive debt.
So yeah, big difference in the quality of life I was able to find in North Carolina. So, I moved here and have been scaling a company that's in personal injury, healthcare financing. We've been scaling it through COVID. It's been an interesting excursion with private equity. I got a call from Jeff Finn, my former boss at NAI Global in December, and he said, "You know, look at this eXp Commercial and what these guys have going." And I'm like, well, look, I'm the CEO of a company. I'm running a fairly big balance sheet, got 150 employees, but let me look at it. So I looked at their stock, and I bought some stock in December. I thought, well, I'll play. Let's see what this thing does. So, I bought a couple hundred shares, and if you guys know what happened in January and then February, and then the stock splits, and I'm like, I'm already making money off these guys.
So, I actually bought more stock this week. So, when I looked at the model, and you guys finally got me into the virtual world. I do calls with guys between Christmas and New Years that I've worked with over the years, and I was talking to a friend of mine, who's with a large brokerage company out of Manhattan, and I'm like, when's the last time you were in the office? He said in March. And I go, so you're working from home. He goes, yeah. He goes, I'm sourcing all my deals. I'm doing stuff in Canada. I'm like, that's fantastic. I go, did you have a good year? He goes, yeah, I got into seven figures, and I went, wow, that's great, especially since you worked from home. And I go, are they giving you any kind of special splits? And he laughed at me. He was like, are you kidding me? And I'm like, you know what, dude, you are working from home, making it all happen. Why in the heck are you giving these guys all this money? I mean, hundreds of thousands of dollars. You must like them an awful lot, or you're just plain stupid.
We have that conversation. We have, we have another follow-up conversation next week, so I can tell him what it is that I've done. I continue to be the CEO of my company. I'm going to be that for probably the next somewhere between the next 60 and 90 days as I work with them on an exit plan. And you know, I'm leaving a CEO job of a middle-market company where I get paid every two weeks, and I've got stock, we've grown the company, but I see this as a better opportunity.
I always remember a few years ago, my nephew came to my office and he says, Uncle Eric, can you just give me $5,000? And I go, why would I give you $5,000? He goes, well, there's this thing out there. I want it. You're going to do really well with it. And I go, what is it? He says, it's called Bitcoin. For 500 bucks, we can go in and we can buy all these Bitcoins. You know, we can get 10 Bitcoins for five grand. I want you to buy 10 of them. And I'm like, get out of my office, you're crazy. I couldn't understand it. I couldn't get my head around it. How does Bitcoin work? What is this? And of course today, I think the Bitcoins that I do own are now worth $56,000 apiece. And you know, it's the ground floor of anything, right? You guys, this is, in my opinion - from all the due diligence I've done and the hours that I've talked to you guys, and looking around your software platforms, understanding commercial real estate, as well as I do - you guys are Bitcoin at 500 bucks.
Stephanie Gilezan: That's perfect. Well said, Eric. And so what do you see? And, you know, you, you see what we're doing, obviously, you're with us, which we absolutely are so excited about, but what do you see happening with that traditional commercial estate broker? What do you see?
Eric Powers: I think you stick a fork in it. It's done. Honestly, it doesn't make any sense to continue to do what you've always done and get the same result. It makes no sense to line the pockets of some other publicly-traded company with 20, 30, 40, 50% of your efforts and have them not provide you the things that you actually need. And COVID just accentuated that because they're all working from home. Nobody's going into the office in downtown LA Manhattan, New Orleans. They're not going in their office. So what is that brokerage really providing you? The receptionist is gone. The office space is gone. The support is gone, and what do you have left? You have the financial services that a broker needs to operate and grow his business. And so the next level to that is next-level lead gen, right?
"It makes no sense to line the pockets of some other publicly-traded company with 20, 30, 40, 50% of your efforts and have them not provide you the things that you actually need."Eric Powers, CEO, 7LCRE
It's a market intelligence platform tied into a CRM that literally becomes a machine that makes you business. I scaled my last company from $25,000 a month to a hundred million dollars a month using these marketing tactics, using a market intelligence platform, tied to a CRM, tied to a top of funnel, middle of funnel, bottom of funnel marketing approach. And Jim and I have been talking about it. I've been writing out a business plan, and I'm probably going to hire some people to help me, but we're going to build it out. My hope is that we're generating business for other people that come in, and I'm just getting a piece of it. So, I think it was Rockefeller who said, I'd rather have 1% of the efforts of a hundred and not 100% of my efforts, and that's what you're able to do by recruiting, building a team around you, helping them, support them in building a team. So, that's what I'm here for. I'm excited about it.
James Huang: Eric, let me ask you this. So, you went into this broad thing and making the choice to be with eXp Commercial, building this funnel. Can anyone do it? Can anyone build it if they have the motivation, and I'd say the knowledge and some know-how, can anyone else do it?
Eric Powers: Well, I hope so. I mean, it was two weeks ago that I looked at you and said, here, hold my beer. Let's do it. I mean, I'm in. So, again, I'm finishing up my duties with my current job. I haven't notified them yet, so please keep it confidential. It's not gonna be a surprise. I literally have $31 million worth of commercial real estate business in my pipeline as I sit here and I've told maybe 10 people what I'm doing.
I'm sitting in a manufacturing facility right now. It's on 17 acres, 132,000 square feet. We're going to do a sale-leaseback. I was just going through the financials. I have my drone, we're going to be flying, as soon as I'm done here, we're flying the thing. We're taking pictures, and we're getting things going.
A Force to Be Reckoned With
Stephanie Gilezan: That is awesome, Eric. So, I mean, in all honesty, obviously you see it. We love it. You're all in, pretty much you're all in. What do you see eXp Commercial in the next five years?
Eric Powers: Well, I think it's a force to be reckoned with. I think it's like I told Jim, I hope you're okay with me saying this, but right now he's playing whack-a-mole, you know? He's got all these things, the stuff that he wants to do, and I said, we need to keep the most important thing, the most important thing. And right now the most important thing is scale and getting brokers signed up and getting them started. So, while I think it's great to go out and do a 1031 exchange group, and we've formed this group, you've got to keep the main thing, the main thing. Right now, the metric that the market measures you by is how many brokers are part of your network - commercial brokers.
The 47,000 residential brokers, that's great. That's a pipeline. That's a great resource. Don't discount it whatsoever, but how many commercial brokers? People who are focused and wake up every day trying to lease a building, sell a building, buy a building. How many people are actually doing that?
And I think the market changes. We're going to have to figure out what we're going to do with all this office space that's probably not going to be utilized. I think you're gonna see a big drop there. In commercial mortgage-backed securities, there's almost a trillion dollars of this stuff coming due in the next five years. So there's going to be some real shifting in the market to see what actually happens with some of these mid and high-rise buildings that are financed and the tenants aren't going to be occupying them. We're going to have an opportunity in that, though. That's not a problem. It's just an opportunity. So that means as a group, we've got to work the problem and come up with our solution. I actually don't care what anybody else is doing. I really don't care what CBRE or Jones Lang is doing. If we spend one second of our energy focused on what they're doing, that is a hundred seconds of opportunity that we're not focused on what's in front of us.
James Huang: I love hearing that, and that's why you surround yourself with smarter people, better people, more experienced people, and be open to listen and hear. Because Eric is my reminder. He's sitting on my shoulder reminding me all the time, but that's why when we talk, it's brilliant. Because we know many of the commercial people are entrepreneurs, right? And that they like to create stuff, they like to disrupt and change. So, Eric, I just want to ask you this, what do you see yourself doing in the next three or five years in this industry by being a part of eXp? What do you think you would like to accomplish and achieve and leave your mark on? Because you've done and left your mark on so many things.
Eric Powers: I want to upgrade my boat. I want a 350 outboard instead of the 200 that's on there right now. But, honestly, I want to show people how they can build a sustainable income. When I was a young broker, I, unfortunately, had a lot of success in my first couple of years. And I say it was unfortunate because I got into a hole with the IRS. And then we had a couple of bad years and nobody was really saying, Eric, you need to put money away. You need to invest. You need to do this man. I was buying Mercedes. I was buying new shoes. I got into some financial trouble within the first five years. I want to see junior brokers get that guidance to show them how to build a sustainable business. That even in a 2008 nuclear blast that hit our market, that you can sustain and survive that.
Really what I'd like to be doing in a couple of years after I've built out my group, is to really focus on the new people coming into the business and how you really build sustainability in your life. I'm just going to tell you real quick. My wife and I were sitting out a couple of weeks ago on our dock, and it was just all of a sudden - it was one of those days where it was beautiful because in North Carolina, if you don't like the weather, just wait for an hour. It was 70 degrees in the middle of winter. But, we're sitting out on our dock, and we had a glass of wine, and she looked at me and she goes, you're not happy. I said you're right. I'm not happy. She goes, why aren't you happy? I go, I really don't like the calls on Saturday night at 10 o'clock from the private equity firm, because got a board meeting on Monday and all of a sudden I've got to bust out a couple of PowerPoint slides. I want my life back. And she goes, well, when were you the happiest? And I said, from 2000 to 2007 were the best years of my career. I had years where I was making seven figures, just pounding it out and doing well. I was closing deals where I never saw the property. It was so good. And I said, I'd love to go back to that. I was happiest then. I was doing what I love. And she goes, well, just do that, whatever it is you want, give yourself that. And I was like, who are you and what have you done with my wife?
James Huang: You need to teach people about supportive spouses, right? That back your play. That's another thing.
Eric Powers: Jim, she's been picking up my underwear for 33 years. I'm just telling you, she's a saint.
James Huang: I love to hear that because we know we can't be successful without a supportive spouse, right? Because of the roller coasters of the commercial brokerage business. So, it is exciting.
Stephanie Gilezan: Well, I'm beginning to think we should have named this as the power of Eric Powers because I love your energy. Jim and I talked about this morning: the energy, top-notch, all your experiences that now we get to tap into and other agents with eXp Commercial are going to get to tap into. Because just like you said, you love to teach and show people, right? When I got into this business, Eric, 21 years old, a female, no commercial broker wanted to give me a shot. We want to make sure at eXp Commercial, we give everybody a shot because there is talent at no matter what age people are, and I think you share that with Jim and I, too.
James Huang: This guy, I think he has more energy than we do, Stephanie. We've got to watch out. Eric's going to give us a run for our money. We're going to have the power hour with Eric.
Eric Powers: I'm not going to lie, I did think about changing my middle name from John to Xavier so it would be eXp Commercial.
Stephanie Gilezan: I love it. Oh my goodness. That's great.
James Huang: This is what I love so much with the culture. We know that surrounding ourselves with people like Stephanie, Eric and Rudy, everyone that we're starting to let people know who's on board. It's a culture. And we all know this with a group of good people aligned, working together. This business is never really easy. It's tough, but you need supportive people all around you.
Stephanie Gilezan: Absolutely. And Eric, before we go, one last thought that I would love for you to put out there is to that commercial broker or agent that's with this big national company, that's like, "ugh, eXp Commercial is just too new. I don't mind paying 40% or 50% back because they baby me." What do you say to that person right now?
Opportunities are Never Lost
Eric Powers: Don't you wish you bought Bitcoin at 500 bucks a quarter? Look I always just put it this way. It was my mentor, a guy named David Blanchard, and anybody that's in commercial real estate knows who David is. So, David has been my mentor for years. I haven't made a major career decision or life decision where I didn't call David up and say, "Hey David, this is what I'm thinking about doing, am I crazy?" But David used to say this. He would say, opportunities are never lost. Someone else just takes the ones you missed. That's what I would say to that person.
The opportunity is not lost. Somebody else will take the ones that you missed, and you're being offered an opportunity to join in something. Yeah, it's new. Yeah, there are going to be hiccups. Yeah, it's got some startup feel to it. Yeah, we're doing things the messy unscalable way until we figure out how to really automate it. But guess what? We're actually looking at trying to figure out how to automate that, and we work together to do that. And that's how you build a scalable model. You create your goal and all your processes, all your procedures, everything that you do has to feed that big, hairy, audacious goal. Jim's got some big, hairy, audacious goals. And I want to come alongside him and help him do that.
James Huang: Eric, I said the journey with friends, and this is why we always said at a certain part of our career, we were talking about this. We just want to be happy. We don't mind hard work, but if we're around friends and let's say, we can go out, whether it's Charlotte with helping you get that new boat, the new engine, or in Newport Beach, where I was like, oh my gosh Stephanie, you got to come out with me here. This is like the best place. And then your nephew was like, oh yeah, we throw parties that they think our distribution office is a pub or a bar. And I said, oh, we are just going to have so much fun, right? That's the thing. We're going to make money. We're going to go through ups and downs, but we have to have fun doing this business. Like you said so well, giving back, helping others, mentoring others because you can only do so much. You can only make so much, take so much, without giving back and helping others.
Time to Start a New Chapter
Eric Powers: Well, like she said to me, and I'm never going to forget it, "Whatever it is you want, give yourself that." It was really powerful words. I have the ability to give myself the things that I want. And what I want is to go back to 2003. My story is a lot longer in terms of I was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and had a 5% chance of living five years. Fortunately, the doctors are predictors, they're not profits, and they were wrong. So everybody's got a story, and what I would say to that commercial broker that's with the big house, I would say it's time to start a new chapter. The best way to start a new chapter is to put a period on the old one and say, let's just turn the page, and then let's start a brand new chapter of your entire book, and let me show you how you're going to do that.
James Huang: Thank you. I think that's the best way to end this interview. I know you're going to see Eric more and more as part of the eXp Commercial community, and what he's going to contribute and help and be involved in so many other things. So, I just want to say become a shareholder today. Like what Eric says, take that chance, put that period on, and then open that new chapter. Explore. At least be open-minded and see what we're all about. So, for those that are in the eXp World, please come to our Multifamily meeting because we are always innovating, creating, working with each other to help. So, if you can make our National Meeting, please show up to it on Friday. Every Thursday we have our eXp Commercial Explained. I also want to just, again, thank Eric Powers for the interview and for sharing your knowledge.
Stephanie Gilezan, I always say my partner in crime. We love this business hand in hand, just like you're going to see so many of us. I want to give a shoutout to Bernard to Lindy, to Billy because without we couldn't do all of this and present as a team, we need to work together. So I just want to say again, thank you, everyone, so much for being on this time with us and share it with your friends. So, thank you so much. Have a great day. Bye-Bye.