How Dustin Runyon is Disrupting the Real Estate Industry With Thoughtful Leadership

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In just 15 years, Dustin Runyon has handled more than $2 billion dollars in real estate transactions. In addition to developing a successful real estate portfolio, the 35-year-old entrepreneur is also focused on personal development; he wants to inspire a new generation of purpose-driven entrepreneurs focused on authenticity and thoughtful leadership.

Runyon currently splits his time between running his real estate company, APX West, and mentoring business professionals and entrepreneurs. APX West is a leading developer in Arizona and is currently developing several hundred acres of luxury real estate in the foothills of Lake Havasu. On pace to do more than $100 million in revenue in the next few years, Runyon’s leadership has helped his company flourish—and he wants to share his journey to find fulfillment and success with other aspiring entrepreneurs.

Listen to your heart

Humans are hardwired to seek out comfort and safety. From a young age, many are taught to protect themselves from danger and discomfort. Runyon believes that you will only find true fulfillment when you learn to follow your heart and embrace that discomfort.

“Following your heart will always push you outside of your comfort zone,” Runyon says.  For Runyon, getting out of the comfort zone is the key to finding the path that you were meant to follow. “I left a very high paying job because it didn’t align with my values,” he says. While this may have seemed like an uncomfortable thing to do, it was the beginning of Runyon finding true success and fulfillment in his own life. Since making the decision to leave, he has found business partners that align with his values and has been able to mentor hundreds of students around the world.

Don’t separate your personal and professional life

Runyon has built his career on the power of his good name. Industry colleague Ryan Rodney, who worked with Runyon on a real estate project, sums it up: “Working with Dustin and his team was amazing. He’s a real good guy.”

Being a “real good guy” is a crucial part of success for Runyon and his team. “If you’re at home not acting right with your family, you aren’t going to act right with your business and employees,” Runyon says. “Everything is connected.” That’s why Runyon puts an extreme focus on personal development as well as professional. By being vested in his employees’ personal growth, he is able to foster a level of commitment and productivity that otherwise would be missed. “There are never any business problems,” Runyon says. “There are personal problems that affect business.”

People are most important

Because Runyon bases his business on values and purpose, finding the right people is a crucial step for success. “It’s important to be surrounded by like-minded people,” he says. Although Runyon has nearly 100 people working directly in his company, finding the right people started with his two partners, Andrew Oxley and Britt Wolfe.

Oxley has more than 15 years experience in construction and is a highly recognized leader in the industry. Wolfe is a leading civil engineer who has managed a variety of projects throughout the U.S. from private to municipal. Although their experience is certainly a positive, that’s not why Runyon chose them as his partners. “These guys are great at what they do, but they also align with our values,” Runyon says. “We are all about doing things the right way, not just making money.”

Despite his personal success, Runyon makes it a point to avoid the term self-made. “Self-made doesn’t exist,” he says. “All my businesses are a collaboration of people.” To Runyon, that means treating the simplest job as an important piece of his company’s success. Whether a salesman, janitor or company executive, Runyon makes sure that his people know they are important.

Lead with results

Life is always a balancing act—and Runyon’s approach to business is no exception. Despite his people-first mentality, he is also a results-driven leader. “I’m known for being kind to people; tough on results,” he says. Throughout his career, this method has worked. Before launching APX West, Runyon was able to grow his first real estate brokerage from $64 million to $500 million in revenue in a matter of five years. Now, he is looking to scale APX West to more than $100 million in sales in just the first few years of their formation. “I do have money goals,” Runyon says. “I want my business to be successful, but it’s important how you make your money.”

And that’s where he ties it all together. By focusing on personal and professional growth, Runyon teaches his employees and mentees the methods that will produce results and allow for success in other areas of their life as well.

Shared success

While Runyon has built a lucrative real estate career, it is important to note that he has brought success to others as well—and that’s what matters to him. “The way I see it, I’ve made hundreds of millions, but I have also directly helped hundreds of individuals to support their families and find success as well,” he says. “That drives me to be more successful.”

Emily Stephens

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