Kuba Jewgieniew, the founder and CEO of Realty ONE Group, is a leader in the real estate industry; he answered several questions from Inman about work, life and how he balances the two.
Degree, school: Bachelor of science in economics, University of California, San Diego
Location: Irvine, California
Describe what you do in one sentence: I wake up to build, create and empower those around me every day.
What’s your favorite activity outside of work and why?
Unplugging from technology and spending time with my family. I have four children, so all my time outside work is spent with them.
What’s your favorite classic piece of literature and why?
I’ve never read a book from cover to cover in my life! I get bored easily, so I prefer to scan and search for what interests me.
Are you the first entrepreneur in your family?
No. My father was an auto mechanic for 35 years and owned his own small car repair business.
How’d you come up with the idea for your startup?
As a new agent in my second year, I couldn’t find a brokerage that offered me a positive experience along with the tools and support I needed for my business to thrive. So I created it!
Describe a time when you felt particularly insecure about the future of your company. How did you bounce back?
Never. I have a relentless approach to succeed along with a powerful and talented team beside me. We’ll survive no matter the circumstances.
What would you describe as your company’s biggest victory since launching and why?
I’m proud that Realty ONE Group has been debt-free from day one, for nearly 10 years, without the need for outside capital, while growing rapidly year over year.
What’s been the biggest obstacle your business has encountered, and how have you dealt with it?
The biggest challenge has been finding the right talented people during our growth spurts. But I didn’t hire out of desperation during the busy times; I have always waited until the right person has come along to fill the position.
What puzzles you most about the industry?
Why this industry is so tired and boring, with lack of innovation and fresh thinking! I could never understand why real estate wasn’t evolving like other markets so I created the ultimate nontraditional company.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about building a business since launching your company?
Things don’t happen automatically or overnight. Having patience is not overrated, and being tenacious is essential.
What’s the most overrated real estate technology?
QR codes. There are too many steps involved, and it’s not visually appealing for branding.
How will the role of the real estate agent change over the next five years?
Agents need to become more business savvy because clients will have access to more in-depth, real-time information than ever before. Proper business coaching and advancing their negotiating skills now will give them the competitive advantage for the future.
What motivates you more: power or money?
Neither. What motivates me most is respect.
What is your biggest professional fear?
For my company’s creativity and acceleration to be limited in any way.
What is your biggest personal fear?
Not having enough time for my family and children.
Who do you respect most in the industry?
Sherry Chris — she revived a dying brand that was quickly becoming irrelevant by rebranding, adding the coolness factor and empowering her agents.
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