We had the good fortune of connecting with Terri Pontzious and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Terri, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I worked in the corporate world before my real estate career. This was in the late 1970s and the 1980s, it was very different for working women in those days. When my daughter was born, I had a paradigm shift in what I thought I wanted. Climbing the corporate ladder did not allow much flexibility for working Moms. When the management structure of my company changed, it was clear it was no longer a good fit. I took a couple of years off and enjoyed being a Mom. My mother was a real estate agent and I had worked for a large homebuilder in Southern California, so buying/selling homes was in my blood. I decided to take the plunge into the world of real estate sales. It allowed me to have a flexible schedule and make a good living. I discovered that I was good at it. I love that it constantly changes — new properties, clients, and markets, I thrived in this environment.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I love the diversity that my career allows, all types of people, areas, price ranges, and property types. The majority of my business now comes from past clients, friends, associates, and the people they refer to me. It’s the best kind of business. There is built-in trust when I meet with someone who was referred to me. Working in real estate can consume all of your time if you allow it. I have learned that there are three things that keep me in control of my business: an annual business plan, a written schedule, and what I call “Professional Standards”. Of course, I didn’t know that for the first few years in the business, it was a process.
I try to keep in touch with my clients so they know I am their “go-to gal” for all things real estate related. It isn’t only about them buying or selling a property, it’s answering their questions, helping them find the information they need, and lots more.
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.
I am so lucky to live in San Diego, it is so diverse. You can be at the beach, the mountains, and the desert, all in one day. Visiting the beach areas is a must. We would visit Coronado (you can’t miss the Hotel Del Coronado when in San Diego), Point Loma, Mission Bay, La Jolla, and Del Mar. Driving up the coast is beautiful. The Gaslamp District downtown is fun to visit and has lots of great restaurants. Eating fish tacos and other Mexican-inspired food with a Baja flair is always fun. We could not miss Balboa Park which was built for a World Fair in the early 1900s. The beautiful architecture, gardens, museums, the San Diego Zoo and so much more.
Visiting the top of Mt. Helix in La Mesa with a terrific view of East San Diego County. It’s the site of many a concert and plays and the outdoor amphitheater has been a favorite of friends and family.
For those who like the mountains, I would take them on a drive through the Cuyamaca Mountains to the town of Julian, known for gold mining and delicious Apple Pies!
A quick trip to Palm Springs is fun, it’s less than two hours away.
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 husband, Jim, was always my biggest supporter. He happily helped with our daughter when I had to meet with clients in the evening (pre-internet days). Jack Forness was my broker when I was a new agent, He mentored me and under his tutelage, I became a successful real estate agent AND had a balanced life.
Donna Stott of Your Coaching Matters has been my Business Coach for over 15 years. She taught me to work “smarter” not “harder”, to determine my goals, and create a plan to reach them.
I met Laura Engel when I was a brand-new real estate agent and she worked for a title insurance company. She answered all my questions and helped me gain knowledge and confidence. She’s become my best friend and confidante.