Laura Stewart is the Vice President of Canada’s Top Real Estate firm, REC Canada. Having spent the last 8 years helping over 1,200 investors build out their real estate portfolios, Laura has turned her attention to helping other Real Estate Agents achieve top tier success through content creation. Now the owner and operator of From the Ground up Media (FTGU). Her company helps realtors produce, edit, and post content on social media with the objective of helping them build a community to do more deals.
- We always like to give our guests an opportunity to share in their own words a little bit about their journey and how they got to where they are today.
- Could you tell us a little bit about what your company From the Ground up Media does? And how is it that you’re able to help real estate agents in this capacity?
- Could you share with our listeners, maybe I would say two to three things or, let’s say, activities, or maybe characteristics that are critical for you to be successful as a real estate agent on social media.
- Now, could you also share with us what’s the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely can’t live without in your business?
- Could you also share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you, it could be a book that you read a very long time ago, or even one that you read recently, but it still has a great impact on you.
- Could you share with us maybe one or two things that you do personally to keep yourself motivated that may spiral a little bit of spark or thought-provoking things in someone’s mind as to how maybe they could tweak or even modify their skills in motivation?
- Now, could you also share with us maybe one thing that’s going on in your life right now that you’re really excited about, either something you’re working on to develop yourself or your people.
- Where can listeners find you online?
- Do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you’ll tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to get you back on track if for any reason you got derailed?
Me: So, Laura, even though we do read your bio, which kind of gives a little synopsis of who you are, we always like to give our guests an opportunity to share in their own words a little bit about their journey and how they got to where they are today. So, could you share that with our audience?
Laura shared that she’ll try and keep it as short as she can because she thinks she has a fairly unique kind of background, in that she didn’t know she was wanting to be a salesperson. She didn’t know she wanted to get into real estate when she was a younger person. She really kind of took the lead of a Guidance Counsellor who said to her if she wanted to be successful in life, she needs to get into science. Why was that the narrative at the time, she’s not sure.
But she was like, of course, she wants to be successful. So, you’re an adult, and she’s going to take your word for it. So, she went to school for nutrition, and learned pretty quickly on that that was just not going to be her lifelong journey. She did complete the programme and after that she kind of dabbled in the fashion world. She loves fashion, she loves helping her friends and family put together outfits. And she thought, well, this might be something that’s interesting.
So, she started working at one of Canada’s luxury retailers in their buying department, as a junior buyer, like intern at the time just to kind of get her feet wet. So, started right at the bottom from there. She was cleaning the kitchen and doing all the nitty gritty work that no one else wanted to do. It was pretty quickly on there that she realized, you know what she’d rather be able to buy clothes at these stores than actually be a buyer for these stores. And she’s doing air quotes right now, which you can’t of course see. But because, at some point, you kind of realize like, if she’s going to be going up the corporate chain, she’s still not going to amount to the type of success that she’s looking for.
So, she went back to school to do her MBA and it was then that she kind of had this concept of, okay, well, Real Estate Agents are quasi entrepreneurs, particularly the good ones, they get to do everything from running their own finances, their own marketing, and really building their own team and business the way they wanted it. And so that’s kind of how she got her foot in the door from a eal estate perspective.
What Your Company From the Ground Up Media Does – How is it That You’re Able to Help Real Estate Agents in This Capacity?
Me: Now, your company that you’re currently operating for 8 years as your bio had indicated, is called From the Ground Up Media. Could you tell us a little bit about what your company does? And how is it that you’re able to help Real Estate Agents in this capacity?
Laura clarified that she’s been a real estate agent with a company called REC Canada for 8 years. So, she’s been actively selling real estate for 8 years, the media company kind of came out of the real estate company only 14 or 15 months ago. How that kind of came about was in 2017, one of the owners of the real estate company, unfortunately passed away fairly tragically. And he was really the face of the company. He was the personal brand that at the top of the funnel, kind of bringing in all the leads and the rest of them were kind of working those deals.
So, at that point, without him they were kind of looking to each other like, “Uh-Oh, what are we going to do now? Like, we have no one to really run this thing.” It was then when the group of them kind of went all in on her business partner, his name is Jas Takhar, and said, “Look, we want you to be the face of the company. And let’s help bring us into, this would have been 2018 now. There’s these things called podcasts going around, why don’t we start a podcast where we are essentially answering all of the frequently asked questions that we get from buyers, sellers or investors.” And that’s really where the content began just with an audio only podcast, similar to what you’re doing here today. And that kind of spiralled over time.
So, they had some pretty heavy hitters on the podcast just out of sheer luck and tenacity of following up with the right people enough times. So, Ryan Serhant, who is on Million Dollar Listing, he said yes to doing their podcast and that’s when they realized, “Oh shoot, I think we need to put this on camera.”
That was when the light bulb really went off because they realize okay, now that they have video footage of the podcast, they can now put that on YouTube, they can put the audio on all the audio platforms. And then what they can do with the full YouTube video is really slice and dice it to add micro content to all of their social media channels. And that kind of became their easy and quick and dirty way of being omnipresent everywhere without doing additional work, because they were full time real estate agents.
And when you when you do that enough, they run a fairly successful business in Canada that other Real Estate Agents are looking to them saying, “Well, what are these guys doing that’s allowing them to be successful?” And so, they would meet with a lot of real estate agents who would say, “I want to do what you’re doing, how did you do it?” And they come from the notion of, the pie is big enough, there’s more than enough business to go around and they would explain to everybody, “Well, this is how we’re doing the media. And this is who you could hire, if you wanted to do it on your own, this is how you could do it on your own.”
And they would follow up with some of those agents in a couple months. And they really hadn’t executed on anything. And so, that kind of starts to make you look at maybe there’s an opportunity here where they could be the service provider for these people. And that is what sparked the idea From the Ground up Media where they predominantly help real estate agents, small business owners work toward building an online personal presence through things like podcasts and webinars and things like that.
Characteristics That are Critical for you to be Successful as a Real Estate Agent on Social Media
Me: Now, I like the idea and definitely the practical strategy that you have employed for From the Ground Up Media, could you share with our listeners, maybe I would say two to three things or, let’s say, activities, or maybe characteristics that are critical for you to be successful as a Real Estate Agent on social media.
Laura shared that first and foremost, the one characteristic that you really need to deploy is the utmost Patience. So, they’ve been doing this since 2018, very, very consistently, particularly for her business partner as she was helping him, they use him as the guinea pig and then they filter it all out and kind of all borrow the same tactics for themselves. And the reason why she says patience is because now that she’s sat with a number of real estate agents who come to her and say, “I want to be on Tik Tok, and I want to be on Instagram.” They’ll do it for a couple months, and their motivation will kind of get them there. But when they start to see that there’s really not much traction, or that it’s difficult, or that a client came to them and she was taking all their time. The first thing to kind of drop is the media and the content creation. And that’s really the last thing that should be dropping, she thinks right now they’re seeing it particularly with this, again, air quotes recession that we’re seeing, a lot of people are saying, well, I’m taking off now, I’m going to go on vacation, there’s no business to be done.
Now is when you need to double down, this is the time where you can actually gain that market share that you’ve been looking for, simply by being the educator. And so, she thinks patience is very, very important. She’s been doing social media now for quite some time, consistently, every single day and it’s a grind. There are some days where you think you’re going to promote a piece of content, and it’s going to go viral, and it’s crickets. And there’s sometimes where you’re asking for feedback from people and you’re asking them to comment, and there’s no engagement. And that’s kind of the name of the game. So, she thinks patience is super important.
She also thinks Consistency is very important. So, she’s learned this the hard way, where she hasn’t set up like a schedule for herself and she kind of do a post here and a post there. It really helps, particularly if you’re like her to see it on a piece of paper like, “Okay, how many pieces of content should I be filming this week?” And really just hit that goal. Don’t worry about the, “Oh, my gosh, this seems so overwhelming, because I need to do 400 posts a year.”
And in fact, it should be more than that. Just focus day by day, “Did I do my one post today?” And being consistent is more important than any perfect post. And she says that because she hears people say, “Well, my hair doesn’t look good. The lighting is not good. My camera’s not good. The angles, not good. I’m sick today and my nose is a bit nasally.” It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re putting in the reps, you’re doing it every day because you really have no idea what the algorithm or what people are going to enjoy and like about you.
So, if you spend an entire week just to make one 60 second video for Instagram reels, and it flops, you’re going to be so disheartened. But if you take only five minutes every day to do one and it’s okay content, and you get enough of those reps and eventually you’re going to hit somebody and you’re going to start to build that community over time. So definitely, consistency is a major one.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, people need to kind of Check Their Ego at the Door. It is overwhelming and it can be nerve wracking to put yourself out there. And that is the name of the game, like you’re doing something that a lot of people are just simply not willing to do. We can’t all be the most beautiful people in the world, we can’t all have the best voice. Or maybe some of us don’t even have the knack for writing simple captions in our Instagram feed.
So, understand that no one expects to be perfect. No one expects you to come out of the gates being perfect or professional content creator like all the influencers that you see online, they expect you to kind of hack your way through it and say ums and ahs. How many times have she said, um, or had to start her conversation a little bit differently with today? She never said let’s stop the recording and start over, she just kept moving with it.
And so, once people kind of get over their insecurities, and recognizing that it truly is an insecurity, people will say, “Well, I want it to be perfect.” Your desire for it to be perfect is really just you saying, “I’m scared of being judged by people.” And she thinks once you kind of understand where it’s coming from, that it is coming from fear, that’s when you can say, “Okay, now how am I going to work around this? How am I going to get through this?”
And sometimes it’s as simple as like posting it and then turning it off and not going back for a little bit just so you don’t feel disheartened, because it is disheartening. You’re not going to get all the traction that you want right off the bat and it can hurt, we’re all human. She totally understands it. She gets hurt but she still does it anyways. And she thinks that’s super, super important.
Me: Love it. All right. So, Patience, Consistency and Check that Ego at the Door. I love it. All right, awesome. Thank you for sharing, Laura.
App, Website or Tool that Laura Absolutely Can’t Live Without in Her Business
When asked about online resource that she cannot live without in her business, Laura shared that right now she actually uses a great online resource, which is called Answer Socrates. And that allows you to go in and really type in any type of industry or topic that you want and what it will generate for you is the list of frequently asked questions in around that topic. So again, a lot of real estate agents will say, “Okay, look, I know I have to be consistent, I got the right camera, or I got my phone, or I finally created a Tik Tok account. But now what am I supposed to talk about?” And just knowing that all the topics are there on Answer Socrates.
So, let’s say you type in real estate, you’re going to get a list of 100 topics that people are asking. So, it really kind of pulls from like Google and what people are looking for on Google, when they say like, is the bubble going to burst? Is there a crash coming? Should I sell all my property during a recession? And now it’s up to you to answer those questions.
Ultimately, she does feel that most of those questions will come from simply phone calls and checking your email like anytime you’re working with a client, you’re going to get a question, “Well, how much of a deposit should I put down? What should I make the irrevocable date around, for example, on the contract, what should be my marketing strategy for selling my home?” All those questions that you get and you answer so you do know the answers to them, you should just turn the camera on, turn it on selfie mode, and record your answer to those people. She thinks that’s a great, great place to get started.
Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Laura
When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Laura stated that that’s a great question. She’s a pretty avid reader, she probably read 15 to 20 books every single year. And sometimes she’ll read the same book over. Just recently she finished reading for the second time, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear, people talk about this book all the time, it’s a great book. She really thinks it just resonates with her because at the end of the day, everything comes down to just you doing again, something consistently. And she really try to use that in all facets of her life, not just business, but her workouts. Like today, she didn’t work out as hard as she did yesterday, but she still got her ass there. And so, she thinks that’s super important and if you really look at life from that lens, you’re going to recognize that it’s about like small incremental growth.
So, being 1% better today than perhaps you were yesterday. And it doesn’t look like much, right? It’s kind of like, “Well, that doesn’t sound fun. I want 20% growth in a day.” But that’s just not the way it works. And she thinks when people start to look for those big, big gross, that’s where they get burnt out, that’s where they get excited and their motivation gets them through the first couple months to do something but then it falls by the wayside because they’ve gone too hard at the gates. She would rather you let’s say we’re talking about content creation. She would rather you promise yourself to do one video a week versus saying you’re going to do something three times a day when you’ve done zero previously, like let’s build up those reps and build toward it.
The second book and probably the most influential book is by Jack Canfield The Success Principles™ – 10th Anniversary Edition: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, that was the kind of the first book that she read that was really about mindset. And it kind of got her into the personal development, self-help space of books. It’s a big, big read and it’s pretty thick. But the book starts off at the beginning was saying, everything’s your fault and once you kind of recognize that it’s on you, everything that’s wrong in your life, all the problems that you’re having are all your fault. And once you kind of accept that that’s the case, it really puts the power in your hands to change it. She thinks where a lot of anxiety particularly for herself comes from is when she feels helpless, and she feels hopeless about making any change. And trust, she don’t do this like every time something goes wrong in her life, this isn’t her automatic response. But if she eventually do get to a place where she says, “Okay, I can make a change, it might be a small change, and might be, it might even just be thinking, look, I can’t change that person, but I can change how I react to that person.” That’s certainly very, very well in the last couple years. So, she would say those two books are a must, must read.
How Laura Keeps Motivated?
Me: Now, a big part of what you’ve been talking about Laura as we’ve started this podcast, we’ve covered quite a few different characteristics or traits in order for you to be successful. I think it’s important also, like, I liked the fact that you mentioned consistency as it related to the different characteristics that you would need to employ in order to be successful as a real estate agent, especially from a social media perspective. But sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation, as you had mentioned, to be consistent. So, could you share with us maybe one or two things that you do personally to keep yourself motivated that may spiral a little bit of spark or thought-provoking things in someone’s mind as to how maybe they could tweak or even modify their skills in motivation?
Laura shared that we’re all human, life is hard and it gets tough. And when markets change, and things shift, that’s when you start to say, “Oh, my gosh, maybe I wasn’t built for this. Or maybe I’ve lost my touch.” whatever it is. And she thinks real estate agents have it pretty hard, because they’re always living pay check to pay check, you’re only as good as your next deal, right? It’s a very competitive market, particularly in the GTA, there’s over 70,000 real estate agents that they’re competing with on a daily basis. For her, what’s really helped get over those tough times, is the fact that she joined a team and a team is what held her accountable.
So, there are days where she doesn’t feel like getting out of bed, there are days where she sees an email from a client, and she can hardly emotionally deal with it because there’s so much pressure and so much stretch, and we’re talking about people’s biggest purchases of their lifetime. So, understandably, they’re emotional. But that emotion sometimes is displaced and it’s put on you. And it’s up to you as a real estate agent to calm the waters and calm everybody. And so, she thinks having a team of people who are there to support you when you’re down, it’s rare. So, they have 54 agents on their team, but the core, core group on their team is six of them, it’s rare that all six of them are going to be in a really low place at the same time, don’t think that’s actually ever happened. And they actually went through, again, a tragic death on the team. One person came in and they were in a good mood, and then the other person came in and they weren’t in a good mood, but it’s the good mood people to help bring up the other people.
And she thinks if you surround yourself with people like that, particularly like minded positive people, you’re going to get out of that rut a little bit quicker. The worst thing she thinks you could do as a real estate agent is stay home on those days where you don’t feel like it because that one day becomes two days, becomes three days.
And before you know it, you’ve let a whole month go by and you haven’t transacted anything, you haven’t even made a single phone call. There’s something about being in an environment that’s competitive, seeing other people make phone calls, and seeing other people do deals and not to take it personally or emotionally on yourself saying, “Well, what’s wrong with me?”
But instead to use them to fuel your fire, use other people to give you that strength and that courage to just pick up the phone and even if it’s just you saying, “I’m going to make one phone call today.” , you’re doing 1% better than you were doing yesterday, when made zero phone calls. And so, surrounding yourself with like-minded people and people who want to see you win and everyone’s in it together, she thinks is super, super helpful. So that would be her tip, particularly for new agents who have never been in the business before and who aren’t sure how to navigate all the cycles of the market, being on a team can certainly help with that.
What Laura is Really Excited About Now!
When asked about something that she’s excited about, Laura shared that they have an incredible product that they’re putting out for From the Ground up Media. And she thinks in entrepreneurship, it’s interesting, she thought they would take everything that they had learned on the real estate side, they were doing well on that side. And so, it would be easy for them to kind of transition and start a new company and do well on that side. She was certainly wrong in that regard. They’ve made so many mistakes at times, because they’re learning a new role. And not all skills are necessarily transferable. But they’ve now come up with a great product that she thinks will help a lot.
They’re calling it The Immersion Programme. They haven’t even started it yet, the first one is starting in August. So really, what it’s about is having real estate agents. Because again, they hear this a lot saying, “Oh, man, I wish I could be a fly on the wall in your office.” So, they have a fairly big space in their office and real estate agents will come back by and say like, “How is it that you guys are doing deals, or there’s always an energy back there.” And so, they’re going to actually have them come in and sit with them and watch what they do. They’re going to show them what their scripts are to people, they’re going to show them that. They just recently came up with the idea of making 3000 phone calls in the next 30 days. Because they know with the market the way it is, they’re going to have to make that many more phone calls just to get a single deal.
And so, they’re hoping that those 3000 phone calls turn into something, of course, but understand that it’s not the same market that they’re talking about, like people used to make one phone call and be able to do a deal. Maybe not one phone call, but 100 phone calls and do a deal. Now we’re talking about 3000 phone calls just to do a handful of deals. And they want people to really see what it takes and to give them the okay in between phone calls, someone asked her a great question on that phone call and she’s going to do some social media content around it. So, she’s also simultaneously building her social media presence.
And so, she thinks when people really get to see how they kind of organize and schedule their days, organize their phone calls, organize their mindsets all around it, she thinks that will be really valuable and hopefully, it’s valuable enough that people can actually take that information with them and then do something about it. Nothing’s more disheartening than having conversations like this one, like on a podcast and people listening to it saying, “Oh, that’s a great idea. I’m going to use that for myself.” But guess what happens Yanique, no one does anything, they go home and life happens, they get an email, they get tired, they go on vacation, whatever it is, and then they forget the very thing that they were super, super excited about. And so, they’re actually hoping that by being with them for two, three weeks at a time, that they’re really going to take on the persona and not just kind of be lip service. So, that’s what she’s super excited about.
Where Can We Find Laura Online
Me: Now, Laura, we would have had quite a few persons that would have listened to this episode once it’s published and so they would have listened to it, tapped into all of this awesome content that we’ve just discussed, and they would like to connect with you online. Where can they find you online?
Instagram – @laurastewartto
TikTok – @laurastewartto
LinkedIn – @laurastewartto
Twitter – @laurastewartto
Website – www.ftgumedia.com
Podcast – https://www.youtube.com/ftgumedia
Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Laura Uses
Me: Now, Laura, before we wrap our interviews up, we always like to ask our guests, do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you’ll tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to get you back on track if for any reason you got derailed.
When asked about a quote or saying that she tends to revert to, Laura shared that something she’d seem to tell herself again and again and again, it changes in times, you see a good quote and then in the email and you think about that for a while, but she would say the one that continuously usually comes back to her, quote wise is, “She believed she could, so she did.” She believes so much in the power of the mind, in positive thinking. And again, she’s not saying this because she’s positive all the time. In fact, her and her team right now they have a funny little game that they’re playing where anytime someone complains, they put $10 in a jar. So, they just started it this morning, and guess who’s already complained once today? Her, so she’s already losing the battle.
So, it’s not to say that she has it all figured out but whenever she’s tapped into the belief that she’s capable of doing something, and she’s known that from the time she was a little kid, she was always the shortest, smallest kid and she was overlooked often in sports. And for some reason, she was actually really, really good at running and sprinting, even high jump. And people would always say like, “How are you so fast?” She would say, “Well, I just keep telling myself to run faster.” It’s a choice. Sometimes things are choices that we make and it’s about recognizing all the programming that’s happened in our lives to put us in these positions, and then try to out think that and try to take those barriers down over time. So, if she believes she can, she will, and every day she has to kind of keep telling herself that because she gets down like everybody else. And like she said, whenever she truly feels it in her gut that she can do something, she’s usually succeeded. So, it’s done well for her.
Me: Very good. Very good. I like that. It’s funny that you mentioned you believe you could, and you would, and you did. And the mindset, the mind is so, so powerful, and you are so true and correct in terms of surrounding yourself with people who will believe in you and people who will cheer you on, and vote for your success. And people who are positive minded and don’t necessarily always say woe is me and they’re always thinking negatively, because everything starts in the mind. So, I am 150%, behind everything you just said. And I hope our listeners really got some value out of what you shared today. I surely did. And I really appreciate you taking the time out of your very busy day, because I can imagine that you’re trying to make 3000 telephone calls for the month, this obviously is not helping you towards that goal.
Laura shared that she will always work a little bit longer. But at the end of the day, she believes in this so much, she believes in women in business, getting their voice out there so much. So, it’s actually an absolute pleasure for her to be on the show. She really appreciate Yanique taking the time to have her here today. It’s just her point of view, she might be right, she might be wrong and it might resonate with some. But that’s okay. This is her story, this is her journey and this is kind of where she’s at right now. And so, she really appreciates Yanique allowing her to share it with the listeners.
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