We had the good fortune of connecting with born & raised San Diego realtor Dustin Conlon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dustin, how do you think about risk?
Risk is a funny thing. More often than not, it tends to govern our lives in more ways than we can imagine, and factors in to practically every decision we make as human beings on a daily basis. In almost every aspect of our lives, whether it be the food we eat, the activities we engage in, the relationships we have with others, or our career choices, the calculation of risk within our advanced human minds is an ongoing back and forth game of ping-pong. This internal and everlasting calculation of the risks we are confronted with in life is usually beneficial to us, and helps us stay out of trouble, keep from getting injured, or ending up financially ruined from a bad investment or business decision. On the contrary however, it’s also a mechanism which inherently limits us in our capabilities of living life to the fullest, chasing our dreams, falling in love, pursuing “true happiness”, or achieving the level of success we are capable of.
Since childhood, I’ve had an interesting relationship with risk. Though I was quite cautious when younger, over time I have more often than not found myself taking the path involving more risk but greater potential reward. This instinctual desire to take risks and step outside of my comfort zones was the catalyst for many of my life’s greatest adventures, most memorable experiences, and most important lessons learned. It has led me to the moment of time in which I now find myself, beginning a new career as a realtor in my hometown of San Diego, while also acting as director of a real estate brokerage I founded in Panamá, where I lived for more than 6 years since the age of 24.
Starting a business at a young age as opposed to seeking out a stable, benefit providing, 9-5 job is what most would call a “big risk.” Starting said business in a foreign, under-developed Latin American country is what most would call a “huge risk.” For me however, it was an opportunity. Sure there was risk involved, and my experience of moving to a foreign country and starting a business from the ground up was by no means easy, but I couldn’t help but continue to imagine the kind of success I would enjoy if I managed to navigate through the difficulties, mitigate the risks, and work my butt off while pouring my heart into something I truly believed I was capable of achieving.
Years later, that risky decision to create a life and source of income in a foreign, tropical country of Latin America has paid off, taught me more than any schooling ever could (though I did receive my Bachelor at UCSC in 2011, for which Im very grateful and glad), generated a healthy and ongoing annual income, and provided me the hands on experience needed to jump into the real estate game of Southern California, in attempt to create a second source of income in the town where I was born and raised.
Real estate in general is a risky career choice. There are no salaries paid to a real estate agent. Your income is based upon the commissions you make from sales/purchases facilitated, and it’s not uncommon to suffer months upon months of no income (especially when starting your career as a realtor) regardless of the amount of work and time you put in. So why the desire to choose real estate as my career in San Diego if it’s so fickle and difficult?
Im sure the reasons are different for everyone, but personally my reasoning was very simple. I’d taken this risk before in a different part of the world, and learned that I was incredibly capable of success in the real estate industry. I had no doubt I could achieve this success again, even though I would be in an entirely new environment (San Diego vs Panamá) with a huge increase in competition: thousands of other realtors all vying for the business of any available clients. It gave me confidence and peace of mind however, knowing that out of all those established (as well as new) realtors who would be my competition here in San Diego, most likely none of them had moved to a foreign country, learned a new language, invested every dollar they had to their name, and shed sweat, blood, and tears while building a company/business from the ground up at the age of 24. They had likely never experienced the difficulties, and obstacles one is presented with while living and doing business in what is practically a 3rd world country. Metaphorically speaking, their blades had likely never been sharpened by the immense challenges of life as mine had. I saw, and continue to see this as an extreme advantage in my favor. I know that if I can achieve success in an environment as challenging as Panamá, I can certainly accomplish anything I put my mind to here in San Diego.
The risks I have taken in life thus far, the paths I have walked, the challenges I have faced, and the obstacles I have overcome have made me a true believer of “what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.” I know that my real estate career in San Diego won’t be easy, and will once again require hard work, sacrifice, risk, and a bit of luck, but I also know that I more than anyone am prepared to put in that hard work, make those sacrifices, and take the necessary risks with confidence. As far as luck goes, only time will tell if the odds are in my favor, but if my previous experience with life and risk is anything to go off of, I can say that fortune favors the bold, and those who are willing to take the greatest risks, will always experience the greatest rewards and level of success.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
San Diego has no shortage of realtors, and brokerages, all vying for the business of any available client. Many of these realtors are far more established and well known than myself, but how many of them are willing to give a percentage of their commission away and cut into their annual income ? The answer is most likely, none.
Im a true believer in karma, and maintaining a balance between giving and receiving. Following the same program I’ve implemented into my real estate brokerage in Panamá, I’ve decided to donate a percentage (5%) of every commission received from sales/purchases facilitated here in San Diego to the charity/foundation of my client’s choice. There is so much money in real estate, so much capital passing from one hand to another all year long, that even if only 5% of that (taken from the sale’s commission) is allocated towards funding programs, charities, and foundations in San Diego (or around the world) a huge impact could be made benefitting thousands upon thousands of people, as well as animals, and the natural environment(s).
I like to call this “Real Estate With Purpose”, and it is the foundation of my real estate career in San Diego.
Whether you as the client are planning to buy, or sell real estate here in San Diego, you can make a beneficial impact by simply choosing me as your realtor! You receive the best real estate service available in San Diego while knowing your choice of realtor has truly made a difference in San Diego (or around the world).
DRE # 02136650
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
San Diego has always impressed me because it is host/adjacent to a number of beautiful environments within such a small radius. To be able to relax on the beautiful white sand beaches of La Jolla one day, hike through the pine trees and mountains of the Cleveland National Forest the next day, and then stargaze in the “Mars” environment of the desert the following evening is truly spectacular. There is never a lack of places to visit, sights to see, and things to do in San Diego. Whether it’s surfing, biking, golf, wakeboarding, or sailing that gets you excited, and pubs, bars, speak-easies, breweries, restaurants, or cafes that spark your appetite, San Diego has it all!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family, for supporting and encouraging me throughout my life of risk-taking, and stepping outside of the realm of comfort and normalcy.