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Building Relationships Over Transactions with Maria Camila Betancur

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What’s your backstory?

My story kicks off in third grade when I moved from Colombia to the United States. As the new girl with a language barrier and heavy accent, I was always bullied throughout Elementary and Middle School. High School was no different and the kids were outrageously cruel. I was eventually transferred to Coral Glades High School where I was able to identify myself and find friends. The bullying eventually stopped and I became extremely focused. During High School and College, most people knew me for my drive and determination. I was able to balance multiple jobs and complete all my homework.

Immediately after school I would go to my job as a server. My weekends were occupied by a second job at a retail store, another serving job at a BBQ restaurant, and also playing soccer for the city. Home wasn’t an easy environment either, but I’ll spare you the details. At 17 years old, I moved out of my house and rented a room from one of my friends. I enrolled in an early admissions program which allowed me to start college the summer of 11th grade without needing to attend senior year of High School. Although I graduated with my class in 2015, I was already in my second year of College at Broward Community College. At 20 years old, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Business.

My initial goals were to finish school and become a police officer while continuing my education with a Master’s degree in hopes of eventually landing a job with the FBI or DEA. However, along the way, I was introduced to Real Estate and quickly fell in love with it. Through all my trials and tribulations I finally found joy in what I do. On my first full year in Real Estate, I was fortunate to close my first million dollar deal where I represented the buyer. That was one amongst my 30+ transactions that same year, providing me with plenty of exposure to quickly become very knowledgeable in the field and well-known in the Luxury Market. 

Going on my second year of Real Estate, my friend, Claudia Tejeda, and I decided to open up our own brokerage, Tejeda Real Estate. Claudia had been a Realtor for ten plus years, so her knowledge along with my drive gave us great foundations to embark on this project. In my third year of Real Estate I founded my own team within the brokerage, The Macabi Group. Currently composed of four agents, The Macabi Group has mastered the field of investment properties, diligently researching hundreds of properties for sale and only selecting ones with high return on investments. Although the luxury market is the backbone of my clientele, I welcome all types of clients and emphasize developing lasting relationships, resulting in repeat referral business. I feel extremely fortunate to wake up every day loving what I do and being able to mentor and inspire others to follow in my footsteps. Although I have managed to accomplish a great deal of success, I am still a work in progress.

What made you decide to choose this career path?

Initially I chose this career for the flexibility it provides. My dream has always been to have kids at a young age and be a present mother. I also chose this career path because it served as the perfect outlet for my hustle, ambition, and determination.  There are no shortcuts in the Real Estate business, and because I’ve always been a self-driven and adaptable learner, transitioning into this career was something that happened naturally for me. Throughout my career in Real Estate, I’ve learned that my success is the product of what I put out, and Real Estate has allowed me to flourish and become the best version of myself.  Even before I got into Real Estate, I always told myself that as long I am hustling I would eventually make it, and to this day I’ve continued to apply that idea into everything that I do.  

Another reason why I chose this career path was to teach and mentor others.  Real Estate has opened up so many doors for me financially, spiritually, and in my personal life that have had a monumental impact on my mental health.  I aspire to continue learning how to maneuver and find my place within the Real Estate community as well as showing others how they too can do the same. There aren’t many young, working professionals who know the first thing about Real Estate and the financial implications it has, and by choosing this career path I’ve assumed the responsibility of sharing its potential with the world, as its something that motivates me to excel and continue growing every day.         

Can you share a story of a funny mistake you made and what you learned from it?

Although not necessarily a funny mistake that I made, I did go through something in Real Estate that helped me learn a very valuable lesson about the business.  I was dealing with a client from Ohio who was in the market for a short-term rental property here in Fort Lauderdale, FL. We found the apartment, showed it to him, and eventually went under contract, but thereafter we ran into many problems with the seller.  The seller, a French-Canadian, had trouble speaking English so from the start we had issues communicating. To make matters even more frustrating, the seller’s agent is Spanish and spoke no French, so they were unable to communicate in a way that was effective.

After getting under contract you typically have 15 days to inspect the property and do your due diligence as a buyer to make sure everything is in order before proceeding any further.  We did our inspection and ran into a few minor problems with the air-conditioning, the air-handler, the AC controller, and a window that needed to be fixed, which I relayed all back to the seller’s agent in a timely manner . The seller’s agent said that everything would be taken care of so we put it all into writing in an addendum, and then on the day of the final inspection she told me that she wasn’t able to get a hold of the seller tp sign because she was mourning a death in her family, but that seller verbally agreed to all and would get it signed as soon as she was able ti be infront of a computer.  

In the meantime, I decided along with the buyer and seller’s agent that we would work in good faith and we’ll just continue on without asking for an extension since it was verbally agreed.  Weeks after the inspection, the seller’s agent finally got a hold of the seller who then came back and said she wanted over $2,000 for said items to be addressed and furniture to be left behind which was originally included in the sale.  It became this back and forth conversation that eventually led to the seller asking for a lot more money that was not initially agreed upon in our written agreement.

My client was super understanding. I offered $1,000 of my own commission, as did the seller’s agent to try and compensate for what seller was asking for. Long story short, what I learned is to always work in good faith but always think that others aren’t and to make sure that I cover myself and my client rather than working with expectations that others will do the same.  I should have covered myself and extended the extension period instead of being understanding, because messages don’t get relayed the right way and people change their minds and don’t always work in good faith.

What do you think makes your company/personal brand stand out?

My company, the Macabi Group, is a team I built inside Tejeda Real Estate after my second year in the business.  I have three agents right now and plan on recruiting two more to join the team. What I do is mentor them and facilitate their Real Estate careers the best way that I can with the insight and knowledge that I’ve learned throughout my career.  I strive to create a solid foundation for my team so that one day they can take what I’ve taught them and use it to better their careers in the Real Estate business.    

My personal brand, specifically my following on Social Media, is also targeted towards mentoring others.  I found through my work in Real Estate that I am a person that young girls look up to and I try to capitalize on that with every post that I make.  Everyone tells me that they want to be like me but what they don’t see is all the work that I put in behind the scenes to achieve the level of success that I have achieved.  I’ve become a mentor on social media answering questions for girls and guys interested in learning about Real Estate, entrepreneurship, and how to create residual income. I feel as though I’ve embodied a motherly roll talking to these people about life and about business because most of what they are asking me was never taught in high school or even in college. 

 The most common question that I get is if I am an Instagram model? and I tell everyone absolutely not.  What I do tell them I am, however, is a smart Realtor. I understand the value of a good post, and the fact of the matter is that sex sells.  Nobody wants to see you post a picture of a house on social media. It will not get engagement and it will not get likes. But if they see a good looking girl with a lifestyle picture, men will flock to the page because she looks good and women will come to the page because they like her sense of fashion.  However people are brought to my profile is irrelevant, but where I hit them with value is in the caption of all of my posts. My personal brand is unique because everything I share is calculated and done for a reason. I use my looks to attract and then share my knowledge in the caption to help educate people and retain an audience which will eventually become my clientele.  I’ve sold a great amount of properties just through Instagram because I portray myself in such a way that people will trust me and relate to my lifestyle before I ever mention anything related to the sale. Social media is addictive, and my brand utilizes that addiction to help me generate leads and ultimately make me money. 

What’s a quote that you live by?

A quote that I live by is “Build relationships, not transactions.”  Throughout my Real Estate career, I’ve learned that the best way to sell is to not sell at all.  The way that I see it, the most important factor in making a sale is ensuring that the relationship is made and preserved before anything else.  Instead of prioritizing the sale, I strive to build and foster a healthy relationship with my clients to prove to them that I’m not just after their money.  I simply offer my services, ask them what it is I can do for them, and then facilitate their needs the best way that I can without ever asking for anything in return.  I prioritize building rapport and fostering a meaningful relationship first, and then when that person needs a Real Estate agent I’m naturally first on their list. It’s a simple tactic and an even simpler quote, but it’s one that I live by and one that has helped make the majority of my sales in Real Estate.  

Maria Camila Betancur

Nathan Ray Ortega is the founder of influencer podcasts. Nathan helps those share their great story, by helping entrepreneurs, authors, influencers, millionaires and many more get on podcasts and tv shows around the world, his passion is to help share the stories of the few to impact the lives of the many. Nathan had to overcome many obstacles during his journey, from having 16 different jobs at age 20 to being homeless and sleeping in a car with his pregnant girlfriend, and even changing in public bathrooms for 2 months, but during that time Nathan stayed motivated and listened to many powerful stories that changed his life for the better. Nathan thanks the power of podcasting for motivating him to push further with every episode of entrepreneurship. ''Life is never a straight road, we have to face unknown obstacles, many emotional experiences, and life-changing habits, to get to where we need to be.'' - Nathan Ray Ortega

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Ryan Alford Is Helping Brands Grow In Real Time Through His Ad Agency Radical

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Ryan Alford is a marketing influencer and a visionary entrepreneur, who founded Radical in 2018, a full-service digital ad agency. He is a native of Greenville, South Carolina with humble origins as the second child of middle-class parents. 

Ryan was one of the first college graduates in his family and has since amassed over 20 years of experience in marketing and advertising working at some of the most respected ad agencies in the country, like Hill Holliday and EP & Co. Ryan has built two successful businesses from essentially nothing–with no outside investment, just full organic growth.

Today, Ryan focuses most of his time on his ad agency Radical, which is one of the fastest growing ad agencies in the Southeast, approaching four million dollars in revenue in less than two years.

Radical is a full-service digital agency built for nimbleness, speed to market, and unmatched capability. Leveraging a full stack web development team, in-house video production, and a no-rules creative team we build everything from ecommerce websites to custom B2B experiences. Radical was built for today’s client challenges.”

But Ryan was making ads way before he founded Radical. You surely have seen some of his work, whether it is the original iPhone launch or the $1 billion NFL agreement advertising.

“For more than 20 years in the marketing and ad agency business, I have worked on some of the largest brands and most recognizable ad campaigns in the world, including Verizon, Lexus, BMW, the NFL, Firehouse Subs, among others.” Ryan shares. “I also oversaw a $50 million segment of Verizon business working on launches that included the original iPhone launch, the $1 Billion NFL agreement, and the launch of Verizon FIOS.” 

Most recently, Ryan was in charge of building the personal brand of one of the most-watched personalities on Facebook in 2018, the “dancing dentist.” Also known as Dr. C, this personality, whose videos have been watched over 300 million times worldwide, was ignited by Ryan through a national PR plan. 

Besides all this, Ryan also hosts the Radical Marketing podcast, where he shares marketing insights and recommendations, and interviews dynamic influencers both in and out of the business world.

Back in 2014, Ryan was fundamental in the creation of the brand and marketing for one of the first automotive digital retailing platforms called iDrive On-Demand. The traditional purchase of a car often involves repeated visits to the dealerships and negotiations with dealers to reach the best price. iDrive focused on taking the customer’s specific requests via a website portal, including everything from make and model to interior color and fabric, to then search nationwide for a car that fits those conditions. 

Ryan is also the co-founder of GVL Hustle, founded in 2017 by him and Tyler Harris as a way for two of Greenville’s most successful entrepreneurs to contribute to their community through regular events that provided training and cooperation opportunities to upstate businesses.

After founding the GVL Hustle, its community rapidly evolved into one of the largest networking groups in the northern part of the state, and the #GVLHustle hashtag is now the most extensively used Instagram business hashtag throughout South Carolina, as local businesses publish and share their business growth stories.

Through all his ventures, Ryan wants to make sure to promote positivity while also leaving a lasting impact.

I want to feel like I have an impact, and I believe that if you have a positive mind, it solves 95 percent of your problems. We are all susceptible to life, but if you live with positivity and gratitude and appreciation, life will be better. Does it mean I’m positive every ounce of the day? No, but I believe in those core principles, and it keeps me going through.” Ryan shared in an interview 

In the near future, Ryan will continue to lead his ad agency Radical while being open to speaking opportunities in marketing, branding, digital marketing, social media and e-commerce.

With Radical, Ryan is helping brands grow in real-time – just as he is. Find out more here.

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Aziz Akhmedov is an example of how the modern entrepreneur should be – honest, smart and goal-seeking.

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An experienced manager, businessman, influencer and blogger – today he heads a large flour mill in the Emirate of Sharjah

He was born and raised in Uzbekistan, in the city of Tashkent. For him, it all started here. Aziz received two higher educations: technical and legal, took the first steps and achieved success in business. Gained managerial skills and experience: held the post of CEO in large companies and owned a chain of stores. He really loves this city and tries to be there as often as possible, because here is his home & family. He owes all his merits to what he gained in Tashkent.

His move to Dubai took place in 2011. Aziz was invited to lead the construction and launch of a large flour mill. The founders of the company were very dissatisfied with the existing management team, because all the deadlines for the project were decently expired. He was asked to recruit his team to restart all the work. Without a doubt, he accepted the offer. First of all, he liked the country itself. And secondly, he had managerial experience, and he felt that he would cope with the tasks. Initially, there were many difficulties: lack of knowledge of the language, the intricacies of local legislation, the characteristics of culture and mentality. But he managed to assemble and rally a very strong team and bring this project to the finish line.

A good manager should clearly understand and imagine what he is doing, think strategically, be able to take full responsibility and be stress-resistant. Human qualities, such as honesty and decency are also important. Proper business relationships should be clean and frank without a single hint of deception.

A person should run a business with a pure mind and heart, in which experience, desire, love for his work, and self-confidence are perfectly harmonized. Of course, you can’t stop there: to keep up with the times, you need to develop, monitor market trends, read the right literature. Today it is straightforward to get access to the necessary information; the main thing is your desire and motivation.

Aziz is sure that the success of the company depends on a workable and close-knit team. The company employs representatives of more than 6 different nationalities, and he pays special attention to ensuring that the team always has a healthy atmosphere. He often organizes various teambuilding, collects football teams – this combines business with pleasure; arranges open meetings at which problems and questions are raised and try to solve them. Aziz claims that it is imperative that each employee is involved in the work process and feels his importance to the company.

At the stages of the formation of the company, his role resembled of a father for everyone. He was constantly present at all sections and fronts of work, supervised and instructed the staff. Now, when all the processes have already been established and production has been put on stream, he moved away from the operating part and took the observing position of “grandfather”, who can help with advice during meetings with top managers.

Today, Aziz is the CEO of this company. In short, this is a large enterprise that produces all types of wheat flour, bran and semolina. Production focuses primarily on the Arab and Indian markets.

This factory produces normal flour, as well as traditional stone grinded Indian chapati flour, which is called atta. Looking at the progress that they have now, we can confidently say that Aziz managed to create a successful, competitive company that is gaining momentum every day.

In Dubai, Aziz lives with his wife and three children. The time that he spends with his family is invaluable to him and he takes a very responsible approach to the issue of scheduling his time in order to clearly divide the time between work and family. This is a very important balance for him, which he tries not to disturb. At work, Aziz does not talk about family, but at home – about work.

The main motivation for Aziz is his family, big and strong in spirit. Spouse and children, parents and brothers – their love gives him strength and self-confidence and helps him overcome obstacles to his goals.

 

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4 Key Questions to Ask When Choosing a Domain Name for your SMB

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It’s no secret that small businesses have it rough in the online market. Having to compete against powerful brands and large companies that are not just more developed but also better funded is a very difficult task, indeed. 

However, despite fierce competition, a lot of SMB manage to survive and succeed in such an environment. If you’re wondering how SMBs manage that, the answer lies in good online visibility and recognition

The vital part of that visibility and recognition is a proper domain name. Yes, everything begins with something as what seems to be a simple step as choosing a domain name. Unfortunately, there’s nothing simple about it because choosing a domain name requires more attention than picking the first name that comes to mind. 

Let’s just say there are more important factors involved in the process. Therefore, the domain you choose will stick with you, at least for the time being. You can always change it, but then you’d have to build your online presence all over again. With that in mind, here are a few key questions to ask when choosing a domain name for your SMB.

Will a domain name affect my website traffic?

Yes, it will. A domain name that’s easy to understand and comprehend by both search engines and consumers themselves is generally more appealing. 

For example, you can opt for a keyword domain where the keyword is something relevant to your business. This will help generate more traffic to your website as consumers don’t have to ponder too long about what it is that your business does. It’s spelled out for them in your domain name. 

Moreover, search engines will rank your website for related search queries, which is also a good way to generate more organic traffic to your website. And, as you may already know, the more organic traffic your business gets, the greater the likelihood of scoring more conversions. 

Do extensions matter?

Yes, they do, and quite a lot actually. Believe it or not, a (dot) something extension, such as .com or .org, for instance, is more relevant than the actual domain name. 

This is why the dot extensions are referred to as TLDs or Top-Level Domains, while your actual domain name is referred to as an SLD or Second-Level Domain. That said, choosing the right extension or TLD is equally, if not more, important than choosing an SLD. 

TLDs come in various forms. For example, the .com one is the most popular, but you can choose something more specific like .edu or .info. In addition, you can choose a location-specific TLD like .us, .uk, .au (United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, respectively). 

If you’re wondering about how to personalize your service efficiently and make your entire website more engaging, you can opt for a .me TLD. That way, you not only opt for a popular TLD, but your domain becomes something of a CTA (Call To Action) for your customers.

Will a domain name affect my branding efforts?

A well-chosen domain name and branding efforts for your SMB work perfectly well with each other. Moreover, choosing a branded domain name can elevate your branding efforts and make it more seamless. 

Having the name of your brand as a domain name will boost your visibility, awareness and exposure in the online world. 

Furthermore, deciding to go with a branded domain means that the domain is most likely free since it’s unique to your business. By now, you might imagine that the majority of domain names are already taken if not reserved for someone’s future endeavors.

Should I keep it simple?

Yes, simplicity when choosing a domain name is the way to go. If you overcomplicate things, you will confuse your audience and make your website look like spam. A perfect example of this is the use of hyphenated domain names

It may seem like a good idea to use a hyphen in your domain name, especially if the domain name without a hyphen is already taken. 

However, hyphens ruin the readability and memorability of your domain, and using them is associated with spam behavior. Therefore, keep things short, just fewer than 15 characters will do, and keep things simple to make your domain name truly shine.

 

Choosing a domain name for your SMB is vital. To exist in the online world, you’ll need a proper address that everyone can recognize and remember. This is what domain names are for; to give your SMB its rightful place in the vast and highly competitive market.

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