When most people envision real estate agents, they see a successful person with a healthy salary. But sometimes, that image doesn’t align with reality. In Tyler Whitman’s case, he made $20,000-$30,000 per year listing apartment rentals in New York City. That was in 2006, right before the Great Recession. You would never guess then that 12 years later, Whitman would earn $1.6 million with his real estate team and join the cast of Million Dollar Listing New York.
In this episode of Brilliant Thoughts, Whitman chats with SUCCESS People Editor Tristan Ahumada about overcoming adversity. It took Whitman more than 10 years to reach an enviable level of success. That means entrepreneurs, employees and everyone in between can learn something from his perseverance.
If you’re feeling stuck in last place right now, don’t give up. Do these three things instead.
1. When you have nothing to lose, take a risk.
Whitman initially earned $500 from each real estate deal he made in New York. His commission was low, partly because the apartments were rented for $1,500.
But one day, he decided to take a chance. He randomly advertised a three-bedroom apartment online that was listed at $6,000. When Whitman closed that deal, the bump in value boosted his commission to $3,000.
It was a gaming-changing deal that took his career to the next level, he says. Before that, Whitman had been renting a walk-in closet for $400 and barely scraping by.
But his luck kept growing. The tenants who moved into the $6,000 apartment—three graduates from Princeton University—sent more Ivy League graduates his way.
“Princeton became Harvard, Harvard became Yale, and it just grew into this ecosystem [of referrals] for me,” Whitman says.
If he had never pursued the better listing, Whitman’s commission would have been $500 for a long time. Taking risks and trying new things is the fastest way to get unstuck in life.
2. Broadcast your dreams.
Conventional wisdom tells people to keep their dreams close to the chest. There’s a generalized fear that if someone discovers a larger-than-life goal, they will attack it with negativity. As a result, people believe it’s better to progress in silence.
That may be true in some cases, but the opposite can work as well. Plenty of successful people have showcased their talent and received great opportunities in return.
Whitman experienced such a breakthrough after finding his footing in real estate. By 2010 he was managing a real estate team, and by 2013 he was head of sales at a real estate startup called Triplemint. As the company grew, so did his aspirations. Whitman wanted to become an active agent again, so he filmed a video announcing his return and sent it to his entire client database. From there, he progressed to filming Instagram videos for his Whitman Wisdom series, a guide for investing in real estate.
The videos earned less than 100 views, but after a year of posting, he got a phone call from someone who had been paying attention.
“This person was like, ‘Hey, we’ve seen your videos. We’re looking for a new cast member for Million Dollar Listing, and we want it to be someone who’s kind of up-and-coming,’” Whitman says.
It never hurts to broadcast your expertise. Millions of people are building personal brands through Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and other digital platforms. It’s the one tangible way to take control of your future.
3. Show people the real you, even when it hurts.
If creating a personal brand requires you to wear a mask all day, you’re probably doing it wrong. People want to see and connect with the real you. Once you lean into your “it” factor, finding your voice and attracting an audience becomes easier.
Not everyone will understand what you’re doing. Some of your colleagues will look at you with confusion and question your path. In these moments, it helps to remember what you’re trying to accomplish.
“When I started posting Whitman Wisdom videos, I was not getting very many views, and the feedback was, ‘You’ve lost your damn mind. This is career suicide. You’re being way too quirky, way too gay, way too over the top, way too this, way too that.’ And it turned out, I was being just right,” Whitman says.
It was a lesson in authenticity, he says. Dealing with hate and rejection is much easier if you’re grounded in who you are.
Whitman believes that:
- Putting yourself out there is risky, but it’s still something you should do. The right people will understand your heart.
- Reframing negative opinions is a must. Instead of getting upset at rude comments, know that miserable people spend their lives tearing others down. Just be happy you aren’t them!
Whether you’re in a competitive career or fighting hard to launch a business, remember these tips. Simply broadcasting your passion and staying true to who you are can totally change your life.