Episode 02: From An Electrical Firm to Real Estate Agent, with Stacey Caito

February 8, 2021

I started this podcast to give moms actionable, realistic and tangible tips to help them transition from the traditional 9-5 to a career that allowed them more flexibility and time with their littles. When I thought about the first guest to kick this off, I knew I had to ask one of my best friends and very first inspirations, Stacey Caito! She is not only a wonderful friend, mother and person, but such an inspiring and successful entrepreneur.

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02. From An Electrical Firm to Real Estate Agent, with Stacey Caito

Stacey Caito is a leading Northern Virginia realtor and mom of three. She spent the early stages of her career as an assistant project leader at an electrical firm and has been a full time realtor for the past few years.

Stacey Caito is a leading Northern Virginia realtor and mom of three. She spent the early stages of her career as an assistant project leader at an electrical firm and has been a full time realtor for the past few years. She began working on her realtors license when she found out she was pregnant with her first child (just over 5 years ago – HOW is that possible?!), but she didn’t make the jump right away! Stacey was running double duty (really triple when you add in being a mom to a growing family) for almost 3 years before making the leap and transitioning to a realtor with Samson Properties full time. 

Stacey takes us through her mindset and career path these past few years. From the initial moment she wanted to make the transition (it was before her first daughter was even born!), to her certifications and building her business. We talk about Stacey’s goal in transitioning to realty and how she chose that career, when she didn’t have a background in it before diving in. We walk through the tips Stacey uses to help grow her business to this day, and best news, they aren’t crazy expensive sales tools! We chat about obstacles and surprises that came along with this move from the corporate world, as well as some myths about being a realtor — Stacey does A LOT more than just turn a key and show pretty houses! Finally, we dive into how Stacey’s day to day schedule has changed, what she has gained from this freedom and how she has had to work harder than ever to achieve flexibility. Plus, you will hear Stacey’s favorite part of her day — and I’m pretty sure all the moms out there may know exactly why she chose it!

We are so grateful to have Stacey join as our first guest and hope you were able to take these tangible tips with you in your next phase and plan, whatever that may be!

Make sure to follow Stacey below if you are in the Northern Virginia area (or know anyone that is) and looking to buy or sell your home!

Website: https://virginia-homes-by-stacey-caito.business.site/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sncaito_realtor/  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaHomesByStaceyCaito 

If it isn’t too much trouble, I would LOVE for you to rate and review this podcast! It is a true labor of love and my way of putting these actionable tips and pieces of advice into practice. We want to arm all the women and mothers out there looking to make the leap with the confidence and guidance they need to do so! The more ratings and reviews we have, the better chances of getting in front of them. Remember, when you write a rating and review, screenshot it and send it to amidstthechaospodcast@gmail.com … you’ll receive a discount code for our Winter Mobile Presets!!! Need help with the process? We got you!

You can listen to episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast, iHeart Radio and Stitcher!

Full Transcript:

Dana: Are you dying at the thought of missing a single one of your baby’s first would have no idea how you’d give up the security that your nine to five job brings. My name is Dana Graham and I had no clue how to escape that vicious 40 Hour Workweek cycle until I did, as the wife of a traveling husband and mom of two tiny humans, terrifying and totally bizarre, from health insurance program to successful newborn and family photographer, all with the amazing craziness of a two year old and a newborn and when I’m not the only one. I’m so glad you’re joining me as I chat with other moms who took the leap into entrepreneurship and created the ultimate best of both worlds.

Okay, everybody will Hi and welcome to today’s interview with Stacey Kato she’s a real estate agent in Northern Virginia and one of my best friends of the past 10 years. It’s funny I started this whole podcast that she was literally the first person I thought of because she was the person that kind of made me realize that hey I can, I can actually do this and quit my job and do something else because she had already done it, so it was nice to have a friend in the space that was doing something totally different but understood exactly what it was like to make that leap, so I’m excited to have her on. So welcome Stacey thanks for being here.

Stacey: Hey Dana yeah thanks so much for having me. Obviously I’m a huge fan of yours so that day I got that phone call from you I was super excited and can’t thank you enough for having me on. Oh yeah, I’m super excited to be here. Thank you.

Dana: Okay, so with every episode for those of you who are new here, we’re going to be starting out, and just having our guests, Give us a quick interview, and sort of an overview of what she has dealt with and how she went from point A of working a nine to five, to point B where her entrepreneur life looks like now. So Stacy give us just a quick overview, starting back when you worked your corporate job to what your life looks like today.

Stacey: Yeah, absolutely. So I am a licensed realtor here in Northern Virginia, I am with Samson properties who I’ve been with for the last five years. I got my license, literally just five years ago I just passed my five year anniversary mark. So it has been quite the ride and, you know from the beginning. I found a broker, Samson properties here based out of Chantilly, but we cover all of Northern Virginia. And I really picked them because I knew I wanted my business model to be super independent and solely focused on, you know what I want to do not, there’s, there’s so many brokers out there that, to me, take a little bit of control away from the real estate agent and Samson properties, really offered me the opportunity to be really in charge of my business and how I manage my day to day. So I joined them and did all my training got my license passed my exams and everything like that. And then just really had to figure out, you know how I was going to make it in this in this crazy career there’s really, you know when you’re, when you’re trying to figure out how to go to go into real estate and you still have that corporate job you definitely have to figure out the perfect balance for you and it’s been it’s been fun, it’s been challenging but I’m proud of myself, you know, to get to where I am today.

Dana: Well yeah and so your story to you were working your nine to five job full time when you know you had this idea to start and you’re so you’re balancing your actual job launching a business, and your babies were tiny, you had just had both your babies really I mean, you were in the thick of this I think you were still working when you when you had your second baby so what did that kind of look like, how did you weigh, okay, this won’t last forever. I know that I’m going to be able to jump and do just the one career instead of working both of these two full time jobs. What kind of made you realize, hey, look, I’m gonna be able to do this like was there a tipping point where you knew, hey, I think this is gonna work.

Stacey: Well, I mean, I just remember sitting at my desk at my corporate job and I had just found out I was pregnant with my first baby Ellie and I just like something clicked in my Mom Brain, you know, I was like something definitely changed in my brain and I was just like I didn’t want to do that corporate job nine to five anymore. And I really, really, was motivated to make a change you know for my life or my family’s life to be able to be there for my kids in the future and I wanted to build a business that allowed me to do that. So that’s, That’s really what was my motivator was I wasn’t even I didn’t even have my first baby yet when I got my when I got my license, but yeah so since then, since I got my license, I’ve had three kids and have had to build my business, all by being a new mom, so it’s, it was pretty much a double whammy for me, you know, leaving my job, starting my own business, becoming a new mom, it was like everything all at once. So yeah I was taking on tons of new roles and responsibilities both in mom hood right and mom life and, you know, being a new business owner so you know the lots of multitasking which us moms are tend to be really good at. So I think that’s definitely played to my benefit but yeah lots of multitasking, you know, lots of, you know, late nights long days, but I’m super proud of, you know how I’ve been able to do that and make that transition from honestly working. I like to say I worked three times three full time jobs at one point and I had my real estate job and I had my mom job and so I really at one point had three full time jobs until I was able to be confident in taking that step and leaving my corporate job and going full time real estate so when I finally was able to do that, things definitely got a little bit more smooth, had a lot more control over my schedule in my day to day. It was a big decision, a scary decision no to leave behind that w two paycheck, you know that guaranteed pay every week, you know, but at that point I had a lot of systems in place. It was generating a lot of business. But yeah, it was definitely a big decision for me to leave that w two paycheck, you know, getting a guaranteed paycheck every week to having to go out on my own and generate my own business but, you know, over the past years, luckily since I’ve gone full time real estate. You know I have everything in place. And I found myself to be able to be even more successful only being able to focus on real estate versus having that that double duty.

Dana: Well yeah, and when we were talking about having the three jobs I mean, so much of this podcast is, you know a lot of people, you don’t have a choice but to work a full time salary right and so it’s important to realize that, leaving your nine to five job isn’t about just, you know, being home with your kids all the time. That’s not what I intended by starting this podcast at all or even spending more time your kid with your kids, because sometimes that’s not possible, I mean we talked about this a lot that we left these jobs but we still have more eight more responsibility and sometimes more work, but what’s nice about it is you can kind of fit it into your own life. I mean, I know for you, you obviously have showings and things like that but there are hours after the kids go to bed, that you can work as opposed to working when you could be, you know, taken to the zoo and the you know at four o’clock in the afternoon or something like that where that, you know freedom wouldn’t have been there before so I know we’ve talked about that, pretty regularly but is there anything you’ve seen change in terms of how much of your like quality time is spent with your kids, obviously they’ve grown up a little bit, and their needs are different now, but is there anything you’ve seen change in terms of what you get to do like is your life, Does your life actually have more freedom now?

Stacey: Yeah and I think that’s, that’s the crazy thing. You know when you compare 9-5 to real estate is by no means I work less, right? I mean, creative, you know with our time we have to really time block we have to make time for our business every day we have to make sure that we carve out enough time for our business. But yeah, I mean those hours may look a little different. You know, there’s certainly things that come up for me that I can’t control or that they’re if I have something urgent that I need to do or last minute, you know, showing appointment or something, a fire that I need to put out or whatever. But yeah, by no means, and I think that’s one of the big, you know misconceptions about being a real estate agent is, you know, we don’t have to work during the day or, you know, we work less it’s like no I actually, you know, work harder than I ever had before but the reward is there and one of those rewards yeah I would just like your, you know, asking is, I get to spend more time. You know with my kids during the day. You know I don’t like I never liked the idea and I think that was one of the motivators for me is, you know, I didn’t like leaving my office at, you know 430/5 o’clock, and then being pitch dark outside and then having to make the commute home and, You know, pick them up from daycare and get home and it was just so much shuffle, for me, and I couldn’t imagine doing that every day five days a week, you know, and, and I wanted to make a change on knowing that I was about to be a new mom. And yes, I see myself being able to have more freedom during the day with them, whether that be like he says you know maybe I’m gonna take them out on a playdate or meet up with a friend who has young kids or or whatever and in the future I see myself being able to, you know, run up to their school and have lunch with them if I want right if I’m in between meetings or I have a gap in my schedule that day. You know, I can choose to spend it with them, or, you know, be there if something happened comes up or if they’re sick or something to me it just gives me a little bit more control over the day to day things that my kids are going to need, you know, as they grow older, too.

Dana: Yeah and I think that’s a good point about, you know, older children, it’s never too late to be able to take additional time I mean unless you have kids, you know, crazy involved in sports in high school, you know kids get out of school relatively early and in COVID times a lot of them are home with you all day long so I see you know people moving towards a more flexible schedule that they’re in charge of as definitely on the horizon for sure. So, so kind of back to real estate in general and, you know, what made you know that you could sell real estate I mean this was not anything like your corporate job or anything like you’d studied in college I mean this was what made you realize that this was something that you knew you could do.

Stacey: Oh, geez. Well, I mean, I always had such a passion for the idea of real estate and honestly the idea of investing in general, um, you know, my husband and I, we had owned a condo nearby for, gosh, it’s almost been eight years now. And you know I was kind of taking the reins on that prior to even getting licensed you know having to find tenants and renters and market our property, handle all the backend paperwork with the lease and everything and I feel like that really gave me some motivation to to learn more about officially getting licensed so that I could, you know, have those resources that realtors have. And to me, you know I owe, on top of being able to handle the current condo we had I wanted to buy more properties, you know, you know, back when I was pregnant with my baby last year I did a my first flip so, You know, that was fun and I think all the skills that I learned in my corporate job I was able to, to apply to real estate, you know that being a good communicator, being driven being independent being, you know, a self learner, being, you know, loved, have you had to love to be with people and that’s absolutely something that I love I love being with, with, with people my clients my co workers and everything so all those things combined I feel like really set me on a good path.

Dana: Yeah and it’s funny you know you’re not you weren’t in sales you weren’t in anything, you know, crazy like that but when you said that you were gonna sell real estate I was like, oh, okay, that’s perfect. This is a genius role for you and it’s, it’s funny that there are so many things like even for me you know I, I took pictures of my kids on my phone, like it wasn’t something that you know came naturally to me it was just something I liked to do, you talked about, you know, being a self learner I think both of us took a lot of it took a lot of hustle, but we really were able to kind of teach ourselves through things online, neither of us really had any formal training or any formal classes. So, education wise what was, what were the most helpful resources for you when you started out and you first launched this business?

Stacey: The two things right off the bat that come to mind. Which is funny I’m on a podcast, but absolutely, I’m not even kidding I spend all of my free time in the car and he’s on my get listening to real estate podcasts. To me, it’s just real life, tangible knowledge that I can put towards my business and you know if I listened to something for you know 20 or 30 minutes like at least one thing that somebody says, during that podcast will resonate with me and I’ll take that little you know nugget of knowledge and put it towards my business and it’s, it’s really crazy how you can take those actionable items and put them, put them into place in your business and, and you can really see the benefit of that, and I mean I could listen to on really stressful days you know sometimes I’m not up for that and I’ll just put on the music but I feel like if you can put on a pod, a podcast. That’s a really good use of your time, right.

Dana: Yeah, well, I don’t know about for you but for me, like, sometimes I’ll get in a funk of like two days of just craziness with the kids and just overwhelmed in general and emails and all the things and I like start to feel a little bit uninspired if I pull up any podcast related to business or photography in general, it kind of snaps me out of it and can, it can pull me back into like that motivated, like okay I can do this mindset.

Stacey: Absolutely yeah it’s like, it just, it leaves you feeling super driven right and lights the fire just gets you get to go in so I have put a lot of power behind the podcasts that I’ve listened to you over the past few years. I feel like it’s really made a difference for me. And I would say another, another thing for me would be the Facebook groups. I joined a lot of Facebook groups over the past few years and I’ve narrowed it down since to like my you know one or two favorite groups that I really like to take part in. But, you know I’m a part of a couple really good ones that will you know there are other realtor realtors will bounce ideas off of each other or, you know, share a situation that they’re in and you know ask for advice or, You know, just kind of be a soundboard for each other. And just like I feel like we could all waste time scrolling through your Facebook and like yes we all like to look at pictures of cats and dogs and kids and whatever, but to me that’s just another really good way to spend your time if you have a few minutes to scroll and, you know, I find myself reading the 50 comments on a post you know about whatever’s going on or you know if it has to do with a contract or you know a buyer situation or seller situation, I’ll read and I’ll just read, you know, back and forth what everybody’s talking about and their responses responses and maybe how they would handle that situation and that’s incredibly powerful and a really great tool especially if you’re newer and you’re trying to learn how to navigate, and you business, you’re listening to what others do. There’s no other way. No other better way to learn in my opinion.

Dana: No, I agree in those Facebook groups, it’s, it’s hard because it does look like you’re just scrolling and sometimes it feels like you’re wrapped up in social media and Shawn always used to give me a hard time because he’s like, What are you doing, why are you so on your phone, I’m like, I technically this is work because I am learning so much and I feel like Facebook gets such a bad rap, but when you own a business those Facebook groups are really pretty clutch. So, I’m with you I definitely narrowed down my scope to kind of see, okay, here’s the couple of groups that are actually productive and so I think, you know, being honest with yourself of hey this is helpful for me and hey this isn’t is a really important tool to have too but I agree those Facebook groups are super invaluable. Yeah. So, making this jump was huge obviously for you but also for your family, how was your husband Zack was he all on board with this, was he, you know, pretty hesitant, how did he feel about you making this huge leap.

Stacey: Yeah he was absolutely supportive and he’s been so amazing from the, from the beginning for me. And in the question before you asked me about, you know, if I have any helpful resources well he’s definitely another one to have, you know, the resource and in my book on on my team here because there’s been, obviously so many late nights I’ve been out stuck on the road, or you know I, I get have to lock myself up in my room to work or whatever the case may be and, you know, he’s just without a doubt just picks up picks up all the slack and, you know, we have three kids now and so it’s like wow every time you know I’ve we’ve added more kids to the family and it does cross my mind I’m thinking, oh my gosh like I am getting busier and busier every year, which is awesome but I’m like adding another another baby to this mix like I just imagined myself having to run out to those appointments or be gone all day on the weekend or whatever the case may be and I’m just imagining Zach at home, you know, having to hold down the fort, but I mean it’s, it’s been amazing and he definitely has my back and has, has been more than supportive of my business from day one.

Dana: Yeah, I think that’s really, I mean, you’re really lucky, I don’t know that, you know a lot of our listeners have that support and I’m in the same boat as you. Fortunately for me, that Sean’s been super supportive as well but you know it does, it does make me feel for those moms that no they can do it, but don’t quite have the support there but I think my best advice would just be to keep going because I think eventually like if you’re working hard and you can get them on board, it’s going to really pay off, so right and if it’s not, then maybe it’s a mom or dad or brother or sister or a close friend nearby. Just so you know having somebody nearby to help support you or, you know, cover you know cover the kids for dinner or something if you need to run out I think just having somebody on your team who, who’s supportive, it is what you need. So when we’re talking about you, moving from this nine to five, to your entrepreneurial life, what what really surprised you what was something that you didn’t necessarily think was gonna happen or something, it wouldn’t be like this but it actually ended up being a little bit different than what you thought?

Stacey: You know luckily for me it was a slow transition, you know I did work. My two jobs, you know, for a couple years until I was confident to go full time real estate, but I think I was honestly surprised by, by how much I loved the independence, I mean I don’t. I got to work for myself as much as my love to my co workers and my corporate job I you know I loved everybody on my job, but my realtor life is just so different than than my corporate life, there’s definitely days where you know I don’t have a full stack day of appointments and I, you know, spend my day at home or, You know, catching up on admin or prospecting, on you know contract follow up whatever I need to be doing that day but I really loved the, the total independence of it that I gained from leaving that nine to five and taking that leap. I think it kind of goes hand in hand though you know it’s like, you don’t have that you don’t have the corporate life anymore and now you’re a business owner and you’re totally independent, and no one’s gonna hand me anything. So that was a little bit scary. And I think it’s sometimes can come as maybe a surprise or shock to people who take that leap because I don’t know what people think about being a business owner, it doesn’t, it doesn’t come, come easy, no one’s gonna give it to, to you, you really have to earn it, you know, every dollar that you make you earn, and especially when it comes to real estate. You have to go out and get it and you have to find the business and you have to earn. You know the trust of people, you know, to the point to determining your own success if that makes sense?

Dana: Yeah, it totally does and I think along those same lines with which we’ve talked about this too, you know, if, if something happens and you’re kind of down for the count like, that’s it. You know, you are the security blanket there and so I think that was, that was one of my biggest realizations once moving into into this job is that hey, like, not only, you know, is there no security of like hey, it’s, it’s, I know that we’re gonna have this business we’re like you said, having it handed to you but on the flip side of that too. We’re like, yes, it’s not handed to you you have to actually go out and get it but if you, if you then don’t follow up or if something happens like that’s it, you’re the one that’s on the other end of that coin. So I think that was a big realization for me along similar lines right, the harder the harder you work the bigger reward for me you know i mean if I, if I stay up at night and prospect and do more lead generation or work harder or make that last phone call, then it’s going to pay off but if I, if I don’t do that then you know you’re only hurting yourself in your business. So yeah, I mean, the more you put in the more you get out.

Dana: Yeah, for sure. So along the line of sort of misconceptions or surprises. What about actually being a real estate. So say somebody was listening to this podcast thinking about going into the real estate field, what have you found that was sort of like a character, characteristic of being a real estate agent that you thought was true that was actually totally the opposite.

Stacey: Yeah, I think it goes probably goes back to, you know, to maybe how people perceive our schedule and, you know, people, I always get the impression that people think we make our own schedule 100% And although I do say that I have so much flexibility, I think that I, people don’t understand that we have to, you know, to jump at at our client’s needs, right, so if there’s a, if there’s a hot house that just comes on the market and it’s, I know that’s gonna sell either that day or you know maybe the next day, especially in a market like today like you have to be ready to go. It’s almost like being on call all the time. So you don’t really get PTO or you know sick days or anything like that. So I would say yeah, like the scheduling concept is definitely a misconception about our job, I would say another big misconception is that, you know, all we do is show houses. I mean, yeah, that’s definitely part of our job, but I like to say that’s that’s the simple part right I mean anybody can put a key in the door and open the door and walk around and and look at the the nice house, but the hard work, really what we get paid for and what’s the difficult and stressful part is everything that comes after that, you know, putting in a competitive offer negotiating an offer, managing the timelines coordinating all the contingencies, managing appraisals inspections financing, and also half of that, you know, keeping your client, your clients happy that’s, that’s where the, the hard work, you know, comes into play. Of course after that is, you know your big reward re closing the deal giving your keys to your client or giving your seller the paycheck. And of course, you know, I get paid to so all of that the big reward but yeah I would say everyone thinks it’s all just HGTV and just showing houses and really it’s so much more than that.

Dana: Well it is to I mean, it’s a huge, huge ask of anybody to hire you as a, as a real estate agent, it’s not. This is definitely a difference in our professions you know if somebody is like, oh, you know, hey, this is a new budding photographer like, Sure, I’ll risk my, you know once annual or maybe even twice annual pictures on on someone that we haven’t used before. Like, it’s not as huge investment it’s compared to buying or selling your home so I think for you was that was it. Do you think it was a little bit more difficult to hop into an industry where the risk is so much higher, or, you know, versus something like me where hey when I started out my prices were pretty low and the risk for someone to you know take a chance on me wasn’t quite as high.

Stacey: Oh yeah, I mean that’s a great question. I could definitely see how, how you can ask that I mean I think for me I was just really confident in myself and in my capabilities and you know I think one of the differences, you know from me to other realtors is, you know, I 110% you know put my client’s needs before myself. It’s always my clients best interest over everything else. It’s not about me it’s about my clients and what they really need. And if I help my client and they succeed then I win. So I’ve really set my business up that way from the very beginning. So I’m, I mean if you if anybody ever meets me and want to talk to real estate with me it’s like they can tell it’s my passion. I really, you know, live and breathe it so for me I was very confident going in and I you know I made sure that, you know, I’m a big researcher and like everything to me, has to be right you know I have to dot all my eyes cross all my T’s so for me I have my sis systems in place, to the point where you know I know that I’m going to be able to get, get everything done I’m not going to miss anything and I set the whole experience up for my client, I set them up for success from the beginning.

Dana: Yeah and I think, you know you are so good about showing up on social media and having people give you these awesome glowing reviews and I think, you know, the fact that you clearly put your clients first is really something that sets you apart and, you know, it’s been made obvious and I will have to say you’ve done it in a very non you know salesy way which I think some people kind of laugh about because, you know, being a business owner, you’re you’re in sales, I mean period, obviously you are but it pretty much any business owner is going to be in that situation and I think the confidence that you have is really really made such a difference for you, you know, getting your business to be so successful so quickly, but without success. I mean obviously it wasn’t directly out of the gate, how, how long did it take you to feel like you could take a breath, I know for me it. It took a minute to be like okay I’m just gonna hustle, hustle, hustle and, and then at one point I said hey, this is actually working. So what kind of made you realize that you moved into that, hey, this is working, category, as opposed to your first kind of hustle, hustle mentality.

Stacey: Oh okay well I think I have a particular moment in my head, where I can really recall where I felt like my business took return on, you know, I had spent so many, you know, really years setting up my business for success, but I have this one, one time where I was, it was right in the middle of dinner time and we’re, you know, Zack and I were in the middle of the chaos of feeding the kids and my phone rang and of course I didn’t recognize the number which I get calls all the time from numbers I don’t recognize but I was like okay I’m gonna step away and take this call. And I had answered the phone and it was this really nice lady who had seen my presence on social media, because I do prospect quite a bit on social media and have a good presence on different Facebook groups and the local communities and things. Yeah, she called me and you know out of the blue had said she’s you know she saw my name, she saw my reputation and she wanted me to come over to her house and speak with her about selling her home. And I, I, of course took the took the lead met with her you know got the home sold. And I just, I think, after I hung up the phone that day in the kitchen I was like this is it back, you know, like this is the, you know, this is the change for me I couldn’t believe that, you know when someone had who I never had met before had called me to do that, you know, still early on in my career I was like wow this is this is this feels good right this is super rewarding that someone’s acknowledging me as a successful agent in their community and once you know once to have me help them without personally knowing me, and so that really felt great and I think that was a big moment for me that really kind of turned me loose on a, on a really great year and from there it just kind of snowballed.

Dana: Yeah and I, you know, I think it’s important to acknowledge this is was a couple years in, I mean in even still I know you, you have the constant hustle going every single day but you know even a couple years in this is when that moment happens and I think it’s really important to remember that like that moment could be quite a while after you start your actual business so it’s a good thing to remember to just keep going and to be honest I bet you’re going to have another one of those in some other way in some other fashion, you know, this year, five years from now 10 years from now where it’s a different level of, You know that accomplishment and the realization, and, you know, I’m glad you said you sat back with Zach and said hey like this is, this is it. I made it I think some people don’t take the moment to kind of realize like, hey, wow, this is actually going so well this is actually working. So I think it’s really great that you actually took the time to, to recognize that accomplishment. So one of the things I like to kind of end our call with here a little bit is to talk about the biggest challenge you had when you started your own company I know there were lots of them for me. And this is something that I’d like to start a series on this podcast where we kind of go over what the biggest struggle was for you when you started your business so that we can you know appeal and, you know, give the rest of our audience, the people who have already started their own businesses a chance to actually see that hey, these people are having their struggles too. And then next week we’re gonna, what we’re gonna do is kind of dive into a little bit of how we can overcome, overcome all of these different trials and tribulations, so what was the biggest challenge you had when you started out in real estate.

Stacey: I would definitely say that finding that work life balance was hard for me, and honestly still is a challenge, I mean, you know, my career is, is forever growing right and I keep taking on more and more and that’s great but I think it’s really important to to find that work like work life balance, because at the end of the day, that is why I made the change to get out of my corporate job and into something that, you know, my family needs better. But I think that that can be a challenge because I find myself always working and always wanting to work, which is weird, like why do I want to work right and I guess because I love my job and I’m so passionate about it, which I know you, you can totally understand, but like it’s just in my head like all the time my spare time, I’m always I always have my wheels turning like what can I do, you know, what does that client need what deadline is tomorrow. You know who’s gonna, you know who’s what how am I gonna sell next I mean I’m telling. It’s just crazy it’s always it’s always going and so I literally have to remind myself to say it’s okay, turn off your computer, you know, and not feel guilty for taking time for myself or not, you know, I, I always, I always am available 24 seven to my to my clients and sometimes I have to remind myself like on a hard day when I’m like okay it’s 10 o’clock this email just came in, like, I’m really tempted to you know to respond to it right now but it can wait until eight o’clock tomorrow you know and and sometimes I have, I have to really honestly tell myself that in my head. And I need you know we all need rest we all need to take, you know, time off and self care, it’s like the big word of the year, right. But yeah, it’s hard and I just find myself having, having trouble carving out, you know, time for myself I think is the big thing.

Dana: Yeah, and with COVID too, I mean there really isn’t. It’s not like you can say hey I gotta run out I need, you know, half an hour to myself to go get my nails done like that’s, you know, there’s just things like that that aren’t really happening right now and so I think, I think this is a struggle for everybody so I definitely want to, you know, provide some tips next week for everybody to really really be able to turn their brain off and focus on themselves and to give themselves a little bit of a rest even though the hustle is kind of what gets you where you want to be in the end so figuring out that balance between the hustle and self care is really really important.

Stacey: Yeah, absolutely.

Dana: Um Okay well thank you so much for coming on, I just want to give everyone, one quick overview, tell me what a schedule look like and how much you got to see your kids and what you got to do with your nine to five, versus how you are today as a full blown entrepreneur.

Stacey: Oh, gosh, okay, well, um, you know, obviously. No day is totally going to be, you know, be the same for me right especially during COVID It’s like COVID has totally thrown a wrench in everyone’s schedules, especially those of us who have kids at home. But I would say you know from the when I had my nine to five, and I was going into the office every day it was the it was the shuffling about hustle in the morning trying to get, you know the time it’s, you know, first it was just one baby out the door and then it was two babies out the door and it was just that long commute into the office and then like I mentioned earlier, you know, getting off work when it’s dark and then going to pick them up from daycare and then I just didn’t feel like I had, you know, a lot of time with them and I just, you know, my mom brain I was just like I can’t, I can’t set it my everyday up like this. And so going into the real estate business like I knew there would be long days, I knew I would have to work equally or more hours but it would just not be that mundane schedule where it felt like Groundhog Day, or it was just like the same day over and over again. And so I think that’s the big difference for me is with real estate, like No day is the same and I love that and I thrive on that and that’s one of my favorite things about, about my life in real estate is, you know, I get to mix it up, you know, I may work, crazy 12 to 15 hours on Monday but then Tuesday I can I can wind down and keep my kids home even if it’s just keeping my kids home for the morning and then taking them to daycare. Later in the day. That gives me, you know, the choice like I can go to library storytime for example at 10 o’clock on Tuesdays, you know, like that’s not, that’s not a corporate lifestyle you don’t get to do that. So for me I put a lot of weight into that and making my decision and to me that’s just priceless right as a mom that’s just priceless to be able to have those moments and those memories are during the day before, you know, not just having, you know, the evenings and weekends has been with them.

Dana: Great, I know I totally agree and I’m so glad that that that’s what your new life looks like so I know COVID kind of throw a wrench into everything but hopefully we’re getting on the right track to anything back to normal whatever normal life is okay and your very last thing, tell me the very best part of your day, day to day. What’s your favorite part.

Stacey: Yeah, sipping my hot coffee in my car alone, with no babies or kids. What if I have a long drive here showing dogs. I do love my quiet time in the car and as you can relate to, there’s not a lot of a lot of quiet time with these kids, kids around so I always joke that I’ll take the long drive, yeah I can sit by myself and sip my coffee but no I mean I, I just love the day to day of my job I love being with my clients. I love getting to meet new people, and honestly I love just meeting other people in my industry, whether it’s other realtors or, you know, people who work in supportive roles in our industry. I get to attend conferences lunch and learns. You know I don’t really have coworkers right so getting to spend time. You know with my clients and building those relationships and honestly making new friendships is, is the most enjoyable part of my day and really the most rewarding part of my job.

Dana: Yeah, I agree that not having co workers has been a shift so I think, I think, honestly, I think it probably enhances our client experience because we’re so excited to talk to other adults, you know, in our, in our day to day work life so I’m with you there. Okay, well, Stacey thank you so much. I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate you coming on and how excited I am to be able to do this with you. You know having one of my oldest friends come on this podcast was like, just sort of like a mind blowing moment right now so tell us where we can find you online for anybody in the Northern Virginia or Virginia at all, area.

Stacey: Yeah absolutely and thank you so much for having me today. It’s been so much fun. And you guys can find me on Facebook that’s probably the easiest way, it’s Virginia homes by Stacey Kato, I’m super easy to get ahold of anytime on Facebook or on Instagram at F and Kato realtor. Okay. Awesome,

Dana: Well thank you so much again Stacey and I’m so excited for everybody to be able to hear this so thanks again and you guys go check Stacy out online.

Stacey: Thanks Dana thanks for having me.

Dana: I am so honored you spent any minutes of your day listening to me babble about living this entrepreneurial life amidst the chaos and 90 Moms normal day to day. If you love what you’ve heard and read more snippets of knowledge about this mom boss life, head over to our website at aamidstthechaospodcast.com for show notes and links to anything mentioned in today’s episode. If you’re really feeling inspired, it would mean the world to me and my family if you take the time to read it. Thanks for joining me, Amidst the chaos.

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