I don’t know if it’s the movies and the way the business people are presented or even some people I’ve met, but to be honest, I was expecting something completely different from a man who, out of nothing, built a business – Oglan Imobiliare – not only sustainable but also customer-oriented. What if I told you that while working to provide a good life for his family, he devoted time and resources to building a home for children who lost their mother and then their home in a fire?
Let me tell you what I expected: to deal with an arrogant man, who can no longer contain his self-praise and achievements.
What followed was something quite surprising.
I had a pleasant conversation with a serene and warm man, which was similar to what you enjoy when you talk to an old friend. Even more interesting is that he didn’t tell me about the little ones he helped to have their own home, after the challenges they went through. I found out myself… completely by accident. I saw a Facebook page and some pictures and asked him what was the story behind them.
What should you know about Oglan Imobiliare?
Ionel is the entrepreneur who started Oglan Imobiliare and who today works with his team to offer those who want to sell, buy, rent properties or even invest in land, absolutely all the support they need.
Today, I saw what a dedicated real estate agent means. While we were talking about the agency, a client needed help in a specific situation. Now, I want to tell you that in one minute, he gave 2 calls, gave the client honest advice, and everything was resolved. I had nothing to do with anything – I didn’t even say wow, because I didn’t get to! As soon as the client left, we continued our conversation as if nothing had happened.
What’s my take on it?
If you need a real estate agent who is here for you, finding solutions even in the most challenging circumstances, I recommend Oglan Imobiliare. But Ionel can tell you more.
Let’s get to the interview!
Find out what is Ionel’s perspective on entrepreneurship.
Manu: How did you decide to start this business?
Ionel: The story about real estate started after I got married. Because it was very difficult to find a job, I decided to compromise and submit my CV to a real estate agency. At the time, I had a not-so-good opinion of real estate agents. To my surprise, they called me for an interview and I got the job. But, I entered the real estate field, 3-4 months before the financial crisis.
When the crisis hit us, the owners closed the real estate agency and left the country. But I didn’t give up. At one point, the demand was so high that I couldn’t cope and I started hiring help, so today we are 10 people on the team. To tell you the truth, I often think that I never wanted to work in real estate. But after taking this step, I decided to show people that there is another kind of real estate agent. Many times, I am the first to go to the office and the last to leave.
M: Did you ever think about giving up?
I: Yes, I had more than one moment when I wanted to give up because there were long periods in which I was so caught up in this activity that I had the feeling that I was breaking down mentally. From the outside, it looks completely different: “wow, you show the property to the customer, sell it, get your commission and you’re done – you go home!”.
In fact, when you get in the middle of the situation, with documents, with customer problems, with money, with loans, you realize that it is the life and happiness of the person at stake. It consumes you so much that you don’t even realize it. An agent also deals with 60-70 properties at a time and it is very difficult to get caught in the middle because you have to help both the seller and the buyer.
M: What is the biggest challenge you face, as an entrepreneur, in your field?
I: First of all, for the team behind me to be satisfied with the working conditions they have, the money they earn, the atmosphere in the team. The second challenge is to make the client understand that our services help him find the house where he can live for the rest of his life. A simple discussion with me clarifies all of his thoughts and helps him make the best decision. It can be about changing his perception of the home he wants – from an apartment to a house and vice versa or having patience for a few more months before making an investment.
M: What do you do on days when you can’t find the motivation for the work you have to do (to keep your business afloat and help it grow)?
I: The best solution for me is to look at the plan I have and see where I stand. We have annual, monthly, weekly and yearly goals. Recently, we also introduced daily ones. I’m not saying you have to sell one house a day, but it’s important to know how many views you’ve had. If you know that you need a certain number of views to sell a house and your efforts are only halfway there, you can easily find your motivation.
Also, for 12 years, since I have been working in this field, I have had a spiritual motivation, namely that I am aware that everything I have and everything I have obtained has been with God’s help. And, I don’t think I need to mention family. When you have 3 children, and you want to give them everything, you don’t need anything more to be motivated.
M: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned since you started your own business?
I: That money is not the most important thing, but the satisfaction that comes with the successes achieved together with my colleagues. The moment the client invites you to the new house and thanks you for the help offered, you don’t need anything more.
M: What do you consider to be the most notable difference between being an employee or an entrepreneur?
I: As an entrepreneur, the positive part is the freedom you have – the freedom in decisions and how you organize your time. But, you also have obligations: salaries, taxes, fees and to provide all the support to your employees.
M: How would you characterize your business – Oglan Imobiliare, in a word (except “quality”)?
M: What would you advise an entrepreneur who is just starting out?
I: Choose your path very well, in such a way as to bring you satisfaction. Study the field thoroughly and learn everything about it from the outside before starting a business.
MY CONCLUSION – Support Small Businesses
This interview made me realize that to an outsider, the business you run may seem like a breeze. But, as I talk to more and more entrepreneurs, I come to the conclusion that no matter how passionate you are about what you do or how good you are in your field, it takes a lot of work and a phenomenal level of focus on providing quality services and products so you can build something durable.
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