Nikki Singh is empowering women through real estate.
After learning every facet of the business with an insider's perspective throughout her teens and 20s, Singh's created her own brand: Real Estate in Stilettos.
READ: These Women Are Charting A Path In Real Estate That Many Young Women Can Follow: Meet Lisa Chester and Vanessa Bellemare
Real Estate in Stilettos teaches women how to unleash their inner Girl Boss and take control of their own business (real estate or otherwise). And if you're her client, you can learn how to manage a real estate transaction yourself without a man in the mix.
Singh tells us how her rise from secretary to agent gave her an advantage in her own business, the challenges she faced from some male counterparts as a young agent in the industry, and how her newest venture promises to teach new female agents everything the licensing course doesn't.
How did you get involved in the real estate industry?
I started working for a RE/MAX office when I was 16 as a secretary. My aunt was the broker/owner of the office for 30 years.
I was a secretary for two years and then after the two years, I started college. When I was 19 and my aunt took me under her wing as her personal assistant. I would go with her to showings, open houses and client meetings.
Then she started training realtors through RE/MAX, so I was helping her write all her training seminars and sessions. Then she started recruiting and I took on the job of recruitment. So I managed and recruited a RE/MAX office for about four years in my early 20s.
Then, after she sold the office in 2005, I stayed on for another year recruiting and then after that I went on to get my licence. I felt that now that I've recruited agents and seen so much of the business from behind-the-scenes, what else am I going to do, but become an actual licensed real estate agent?
What did you learn after having such an incredible insider's view of the business so young?
Because my aunt was broker/owner of the business, she let me into everything: budgets, balancing her accounts, dealing with trust accounts, dealing with agents when they don't pay their expenses, and dealing with agents when they need money and there's no money coming in.
I saw the pros and cons of owning a real estate office.
If I'd become a real estate agent with no previous experience, it would have been a bit difficult for me, but because I did so much I had a behind-the-scenes look.
Now, when I go to my office and I ask the office manager for help, I already know their perception of things because I've been in their position. I've seen the full aerial shot of what it's like being a real estate agent and being in an office.
For me it was amazing, I loved how it worked and loved being on the opposite end of things. I even enjoyed coaching and training people to become super powerful agents.
Your brand is very much about female empowerment, entrepreneurship and being your own boss. How did that niche come to you?
My handle on social media and for my brand is Real Estate in Stilettos.
The reason I started that is because I came across a lot of hurdles and a lot of problems and issues in real estate as a woman dealing with other male real estate brokers.
They would not work with me as easily as a woman would.
When I spoke to other female real estate agents in the industry, they felt the same way.
They felt when they did a deal with a woman it was smooth sailing, but when they did a deal with a man he was very much in control. I didn't feel comfortable talking to him because he was speaking down to me. As a woman, they didn't think I knew what I was doing.
I ran into that several times in the beginning of my career and felt this was not right. So I started empowering females to know that they could do whatever they wanted to do in their careers, especially in real estate. And teaching them how to deal with men in real estate because it's a very male-dominated industry, especially on the commercial end.
So when you have a female client, are you teaching them how to take control of the transaction themselves as masters of their own destiny?
Exactly. And how to be more responsible for finances. A lot of women still feel, "Oh my husband handles that or my boyfriend is in charge of that," but it's your investment too, so why shouldn't you have control over it?
Do you see a lot of single women purchasing real estate on their own as well?
I do now. This is one of my niches.
I find that the more you educate a woman, the more she's going to feel comfortable making that purchase. By educating them and putting them in contact with the right people in the industry, they're allowed to go out and make these transactions.
With so much already accomplished, what's your next goal?
I just did a soft launch of a new business I started.
My blog, Real Estate in Stilettos, has posts on how to gain real estate clients, how to brand yourself and bring 'The Girl Boss" out to help you manage your business.
I've launched a brand off of that called, Coaching in Stilettos, which is a real estate and small business coaching company for women in business.
Right now, I'm doing coaching for real estate agents and I have a 30-day course laid out for any new realtors in Toronto and in that 30-days they learn how to do a business plan, how to create a brand, how to engage their marketing calendar, how to manage their clients and manage and track their commissions.
They pretty much learn everything a real estate course will not teach you. The real estate course will get you your licence, but what do you do with your license after?
This course teaches them how to deal with their business and themselves as a brand, as opposed to working for RE/MAX and Royal LePage and hoping that they'll get reach in their office or their broker will be there to help them.