We had the good fortune of connecting with Dominique Lawrence and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dominique, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Hi, thanks for the question! I appreciate your time. I had quite a few factors go into the process: my decision to take a chance on being an entrepreneur, my belief in what I personally had to offer the world beyond that of a cramped office cubicle, my desire to help others on a major scale, my desire to live a life with money in abundance rather than living limited with bi-weekly paychecks, and my desire to live life on my own terms.
With a father who had been very successful in real estate, I was no stranger to the industry, though I had been told quite a few times (including from him) that it was hard, competitive, and had a high turnover rate, so I didn’t think much of having it as a career. I knew for a few years prior to my start that someday I would start my own business, but I thought that it had to come in a long while, when I was much, much older (like in my 40s or 50s), had worked a conventional job for a long time, and had a lot more knowledge under my belt beforehand. I also didn’t know what I would be doing for my business yet, but I was open to life showing me the answer.
I also knew my worth, though, and knew that while I was content to be a follower, I was also a born leader who desired to take control of my life in such a grand way. Additionally, I had had times in my life where I had enjoyed spending money freely – buying nice things, going on amazing trips, and having wonderful times with loved ones, and I wanted to experience that forever. I was tired of doing basic work in my past jobs that did not benefit me at all, and I wanted all of my hours, energy, and effort to be spent feeding me thoroughly in return. And my interactions with customers and clients were always so positive and fulfilling, both of us so satisfied, that I knew I could be doing so much more to help people than assisting them with their bank accounts or ringing up their clothes purchases. I have a very strong work ethic, commit fully to my work and clients, and put in my best effort, and I knew that that could feed me back in a huge way with the right business.
So, one day, I decided that no, I would wait no longer, and I was going to be a business owner here and now. I knew that it was possible to be successful right then and there, and I was going to make it happen. I had a great skill for learning, a love of knowledge, major ambition and drive, and resources internally and externally to make it a reality. I also had major skills in customer service (5 years), technology (10+ years), socializing, marketing, communication, and more, and I was confident in my abilities being enough. I didn’t come here to live a simple life and be chained to an office desk, then retire after most of my life was over with limited funds and a life that I didn’t know how to enjoy. I refused for my life to be like that, and set my path accordingly and committed to it completely.
After researching thoroughly the kinds of commission-based businesses out there, I settled on real estate, since it really matched what I was seeking over the other options. And my research proved that it was, in fact, quite approachable, possible, and doable. So, I decided to make it happen. Of course, there was a short time before I made my move where I did feel concerns, hesitation, and some fear, but in the end I chose to rise above it and walk this new path with sureness and trust.
After researching the best brokerage to work for, I began my work with them, as well as cultivated my own business and brand, and I successfully helped clients of all kinds over lots of time make purchases or leases in residential, commercial, luxury, investments, and more (I do it all!). I love my job and find it so rewarding to be able to be the leader that I was born to be, share my knowledge with my clients, help them make major decisions, and be a major resource, support, and guide for them to turn to. All of the hours that I work come right back to me, and I make my own wealth. It’s truly a great fit for me as well because I can majorly help others everyday, and it is so positive for both myself and them. Both myself and my clients are empowered, happy, and successful, and I ensure that they, too, are masters of their fate like I am. Each client matters personally to me, and I take my role very seriously.
And now, with all of this success and cultivation and expansion, I get to level up and add on mortgage lending to my offerings very soon. This is so great, and this is the kind of business quality and situation that makes me glad to work everyday, and does not feel like work, and a kind of business that I truly hope proliferates in the world. I am infinitely glad that I chose to be a business owner, live my life on my own terms, and bring this opportunity to everyone that I work with.
So in the end, I am satisfied by my decision to not wait on my goal (I say “goal” and not “dream” because dreams are intangible, and you can make goals happen!) and start my own business. My advice to the reader: be the master of your own fate. Trust that you were born for greatness, and do not let your perceptions of what may limit you become reality, because anyone can make their goals happen right here, right now. Regardless of age, money, religion, gender, or race – you were born for this. The only person who is stopping you, or supporting you, is you.
What should our readers know about your business?
I differentiate myself from other agents in this industry in a few ways: I bring a “people-first” approach not just in my interactions or relationships with clients, but throughout the entire process of meeting the client, working with them, and finishing with them. I bring it into client generation (getting involved with my community, holding local events, hosting some Meetup groups, etc.), and I bring it after we finish, when I check on my clients and how they are doing personally and in their lives as well as how they are enjoying their chosen property or their post-sale situation. How much they enjoy their chosen home/property matters to me both now and long-term; they are never just a sale or just a number.
My clients’ happiness matters to me from the time that we begin to work together to the years following after, and if they are not satisfied, then I will do everything in my power to return them to full satisfaction. People may call this a “numbers game”, and it is indeed a numbers game for many agents, but my success proves that this can be a relationship game as well where the power of authenticity, connection, and goodwill wins over manipulation, harassment, and endless calls to people who don’t even want to be contacted. I respect people’s boundaries, time, and energy, and I will always keep them apprised and get them the information that they need.
I also pride myself on being a Realtor that does it all – residential, commercial, leases, luxury, and investments. I see this multitude of offerings as a way to better help and support my clients in any way possible and thoroughly utilize my strengths and abilities. I am seriously and continuously committed to integrity, responsibility, and constantly building my knowledge and understanding in order to further myself and my business. I also enjoy staying open because then it can lead to transactions where I get to work with a unique client and learn something new, or work with people of different backgrounds, situations, and perspectives. Having an interesting career with newness and change is as important to me as stability and sureness.
I will very soon be offering mortgages to my clients as well, allowing me to help them further in their property acquisition! That is something else that I offer that is uncommon to find in the real estate industry, and another way that I can bring a big positive impact to my clients’ lives by being their person for the property and the financing of it!
My business did not come from being small – it came from being big, making choices to support my business and its growth, and committing to them in every way. I am proud of my tenacity and my willingness to see my goal through and become the successful Realtor that I know I am. It came from learning from many sources, putting in the hours and energy and effort across a long time, and not letting setbacks stop me. This is an industry where if you want to truly succeed, then you work smarter AND harder, so there was absolutely lots of work and things to do here, and my success today is fully contingent on that (alongside offering quality service to my clients).
But, the work that I did always came back to me. Along with that, I always set the bar high for myself and those that I work with on my transactions in this industry; I have no time or interest in low-quality performance from anyone. I am proud that I have come to this place in life, stuck to making my goal a reality, enjoyed my successes and the amazing people that I have worked with, and learned so much (and will keep learning!). When I had setbacks, I stuck to my goal and I stuck to what I wanted from life, and all the ways that I knew that this business could support me. My “why”, as people in entrepreneurship promote, is the core of the business, the reason to keep going and thriving, and it absolutely did so for me – my “why” being my choice to be a leader, help others in a huge way, and be the master of my own fate and life. And I remembered my growth – in knowledge, in confidence, in relationships, in helping others, and in money, which fed my drive and persistence to keep going despite any obstacles.
Lastly, I want the world to know that firstly, I am here to make a big difference and be the Realtor with integrity that they seek who will go to the ends of the earth to ensure their success. Secondly, I want the world to know that if I can go and be a successful business owner under 40, so can you. Not enough people believe in themselves, think big, or go outside of the comfort zone, but I assure you that there is a world of opportunity out there beyond your limiting beliefs and perceptions. If anyone wants to learn more about the business and how to be successful or to learn more about what I can offer, I would be happy to tell them more. Please feel free to reach out at any time with questions, comments, and concerns.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ooh, this is a fun question! I would do a tour around San Diego County, a town/city per day. One day we would go to Carlsbad, and walk around Carlsbad Village Boulevard. We would go to Carlsbad State Beach, eat a healthy meal at the Naked Cafe, walk around the Village Faire Center, and check out some of the local shops. We would also check out the flower fields, of course. Then I would have us go to Solana Beach and walk the Cedros Avenue Design District, where all of the fun places to check out are, and have a meal at Homestead. Next, I would have us explore Del Mar including that little mall off Camino Del Mar, and One Paseo mall off Del Mar Heights. I would take them to Pacifica, a delicious seafood restaurant with an amazing ocean view. Then, we would explore La Jolla (can you see that I am a fan of beach towns?), and I would take them to my fancy gym there, UTC, the museum of art there, the Athenaeum (an arts and music society), a meal at Bernini’s Bistro (quality Italian cuisine!), a walk around La Jolla Shores and their beach, and a stroll down Girard Avenue.
Lastly, we would head to the city, where we would explore Little Italy, Coronado Island, the Seaport Village, Fashion Valley, the Opera House, and the downtown area. A meal choice around the downtown area would be Fogo de Chao (a Brazilian steakhouse). These are all my go-tos for a trip, and I would be sure to show them all the best of San Diego!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to thank my mother for her help, support, and kindness. Way back when I was first getting on my feet, she supported all of my educational pursuits in real estate (the school, the exam, my commercial real estate learning), and she listened to me with love, patience, and understanding as I described my real estate journey, from interactions with coworkers to challenges with clients and deals to figuring out the works of my business (the name, the setup, the formatting) to planning on how to obtain clients to overcoming hardships to the finances to my goals and ideas and more. She provided counsel, advice, and a listening ear, and she always supported me in any pursuit that I undertook, and for that I am very grateful. She is truly wonderful and deserves everything she desires. I love her and am very, very glad to have her in my life.
I thank my father as well, for his input on his career as a commercial real estate agent, and his advice on how to seek out the best company to work for by detailing what questions to ask. He truly had my success in mind and wanted to pass on his methods, and I am grateful for his help.
I thank my all of my clients, all of my many successful ones and even the few in the beginning that were not, who gave me their time and trust and energy and effort. Thank you also for giving me experience, learning, knowledge, and success, and for allowing me to help you obtain your success. Thank you for supporting me in my business and allowing me to cultivate and expand on my role as a leader, guide, and resource for you. Thank you for making my work and my life so enjoyable and fulfilling, and for all of the friends I got to make and victories that we got to create because you opened up to me and trusted me and worked with me fully.
I thank the various mentors that I have had with Keller Williams that have given me great advice and information – Jeff Kayle, Jonathan Nicholas, Ed Bonilla, Gay-Lynn Barnes, and Sharon Anderson. You all gave me solid tips and info about reaching clients, taught me the ropes, instructed me on the fine lines of contracts, shared opportunities to gain experience in transactions, and more. You have all given me solid knowledge that I gladly and gratefully use to this day. Jeff Kayle I thank again for bringing me into the world of real estate, and Jonathan Nicholas for supporting me in my beginning days with an endlessly-chipper attitude and a plethora of highly-useful knowledge. Gay-Lynn Barnes I thank again for her thorough commercial real estate knowledge and experiences that she gave to me. I thank my coworkers as well for their friendship, collaboration, and advice.
And I am grateful for the guidance that I received at eXp Realty – the very impactful advice about prominently establishing yourself and your business brand independent of your big-name company. This advice has shaped how I present myself as an agent and my business today, and that is huge. This also brought me a great perspective when it came to generating clients authentically that I had been seeking then (as in, no cold leads/cold sales), and I use that fully today. I am so grateful for the way that I get to run my business even more on my terms and in further support of others because of this intel and support! I also thank the people that I connected with at eXp for their help and collaboration.
Lastly, I am grateful for Gary Keller’s Millionaire Real Estate Agent books, Success As A Real Estate For Dummies, the Real Estate Express school, CCIM (commercial real estate school), my Mortgage Lending school, the MLS, the DRE, all of the available real estate training and classes and resources with Keller Williams and the internet and beyond, and those that take the time to learn the topics inside and out, teach these classes, and support their students and their success.
Thank you to these people and things that supported my amazing journey as a business owner and Realtor and soon-to-be mortgage lender. It’s a great life and business because of you, however big or small that your roles were.
Other: You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (949) 482-0035.
Frank Armstrong (business profile shots)