It All Started with My Butt

Posted by: Nikki Buckelew

In a recent CNN interview Sara Blakely, founder and sole owner of Spanx, said it all: “Spanx started as a nagging problem. It all started with my butt.” 


As with most great ideas that turn into products creating millions in revenue, Spanx began because someone had a problem and began looking for a way to solve it. There was a gap -- something missing in the market that if offered would be appealing to a wider audience (no pun intended). In the case of Spanx, women wanted an undergarment that smoothed the curves without bulk or a panty line. Way to go Sara Blakely! 




This is also the reason that a seniors real estate and housing niche just makes sense. 

Is Nikki really comparing seniors real estate to women’s undergarments? 

Yes, because there is a big gap in the housing market. 

Lord knows there are plenty of people focused on distressed properties, luxury homes, and eco-friendly construction. But where are all the agents that will be needed to deal with the 15 million senior sellers that will be hitting the market in the coming decade and a half? 

Unlike some other specialties, the seniors real estate niche requires more than just a marketing plan. This means that many agents won’t choose to pursue it -- it requires more than just creating some snazzy marketing and expensive virtual tours. 

Like Sara did for women all over the globe, Certified Senior Housing Professionals are about solving problems and creating solutions. They are committed to simplifying the transition and sales process for senior home buyers and sellers, caregivers, and those choosing to age in place -- especially those in the 75 and older age group.


Back to Sara Blakely and Spanx

I was so intrigued and impressed with Sara during that interview I mentioned The interviewer asked her, “So what do you think was the secret to your success?” 

Blakely talked briefly about her meager beginnings with $1000 in savings and a brief stint at selling fax machines door-to-door after a failed attempt to enter law school. Then she said something that blew me away! 

“Growing up around the dinner table my father used to ask my brother and me, ‘So what did you fail at this week?’ When we shared our week’s failure our dad gave us a high five and said, ‘Way to go!’”

Sara said, “I think it was because of my dad I never saw failure the way most people see it. I’m not scared of it.”



There were two other qualities Sara seemed to embody that stood out to me as I thought about her successes in creating Spanx. 

1. Tenacity: She didn’t take no for an answer and she just kept going until she got a yes. Her idea didn’t turn into a success story overnight. She even said the trademarked name Spanx didn’t come along until a year after the original idea and product patent.  

2. Passion: It was clear that she believed in her mission... “To transform people’s butts and change the world.” With no formal training in marketing or business, she just made a decision and went with it. 

Now with 100% ownership and $5 million dollars in annual sales, Sara Blakely and Spanx are widely recognized in retail stores around the globe. She is an icon for female entrepreneurs and butts everywhere love her.

No one ever said that blazing a trail and making your mark on the world would be easy. As a matter of fact, most successful people will tell you that it was hard - and totally worth it. 

When you have a passion - fire in your belly - and a higher calling that you can feel with every fiber of your being, nothing can stop you. 

We at the Seniors Real Estate Institute are looking for the Sara Blakelys of seniors real estate. People who KNOW they can change the world one person at a time and who are willing to do whatever it takes to get there!  

Ready to learn more about giving it your all? Get in touch with us for more info.






 




Nikki Buckelew is the Founder and CEO of the Seniors Real Estate Institute and administrator for the Certified Senior Housing Professional® (CSHP) designation. A veteran REALTOR® of over two decades, she holds a bachelor’s degree in gerontology and a master’s degree in counseling psychology. As a professional speaker, coach, and trainer, Nikki is committed to empowering, equipping, and educating real estate sales and senior housing professionals seeking to better serve the mature market segment. 


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