In this series we will be highlighting burgeoning entrepreneurs in the modern era. These are folks who have taken the risk of quitting their conventional jobs in pursuit of their passions. This is a difficult road that many never find the courage to venture upon, but the rewards are so worth it, and as you know, no risk, no reward, know risk, know reward.
This episode highlights Damon Bodine, who after growing weary of the music industry, decided to make a career switch that paid off big time. Avid reader and a firm believer in the fruits of handwork, Damon started out door to door, hand to hand, building a reputation for himself, and now he's touching some of the most prime deals New York City has to offer. Hear how he spends his time, what motivates him, and where his hustle will take him next.
Tell Me A Little About What You Do and How You Got Into It?
I am a real estate agent working in NYC. Most of my work involves representing sellers and buyers of residential property in Brooklyn. My day to day is a lot of phone calls, appointments, negotiating, and ultimately taking real estate transactions from start to finish. I wake up around 6am and work until 7 or 8pmpretty much every day Monday -Friday and Sundays. I got into the business after a couple years of seriously weighing options on what career path to take after my time in the music industry.
Do You Remember Your First day? What Were You Feeling?
I remember getting my license being a feeling of liberation. I've always found myself attracted to commission sales because the sky is the limit. Of course there were nerves because I was changing careers but ultimately I found myself to be relatively confident throughout the whole processes. Right away I felt like this was something I was supposed to be doing.
What Were You Doing Before?
Before real estate I was involved in the music industry in a number of different positions. I was a concert promoter, artist manager. I had gigs as a tour manager , A&R , and booking agent along the way.
What Made You Want to Try Something New?
To be honest it just felt like it was time. After over a decade in music it wasn't giving me the same feeling it did in my early 20's. I've always told my friends and peers to not get stuck doing something that they weren't passionate abut. I ended up feeling my time had run its course.
How Do You Balance Your Time?
I think work/life balance is one of those things that doesn't always exist as an entrepreneur. My field is extremely competitive. I can't recall the exact numbers but something like 90%+ real estate leave the business within 2 years. So I've always kind of treated my businesses like they're a fundamental part of life. That said I also work hard to have fun with work.
Tell Me About Your Business
Real Estate can be incredibly challenging mentally. For me I'm often dealing with a persons most valuable asset (seller) and/or representing a buyer who is likely making the most important purchase decision of their life. Emotions are high and its very important that I work hard to be a problem solver, a good listener, and am always dedicated to improving the customer service experience.
How Much Time Do You Spend a Week Dedicated to Your Work?
On a normal I work 60-70 hours . Some weeks are more some are less. It really depends on what my customers require and how efficient I can be at delivering it to them. There is a very common misconception that real estate do very little work for their earnings. While that is true in some cases the people who last in this field take customer service extreme serious. My clients may call me at 6am or 11pm. I have to be there for them.
What Else Do You Like to Do With Your Free Time?
A lot of things. Go to the park , catch up with friends, spend time with fiance. I'm a pretty avid reader so I find myself reading probably 3-4 books a month. Free time is sort of challenging in my field.. I am often called upon to solve problems at very inconvenient times. So i don't know I guess i'll take more time off in the next lifetime.
Whats Next For You?
I'm always trying to build my real estate team further out. So by all means if you know anyone looking for a career change have them reach out. I have dreams of achieving 100% financial freedom and traveling more. This year i'm getting married and we are hoping to buy a new property within the next 12 months.
Any Advice for People Wanting to Follow a Similar Path?
Do it for the right reasons , research what you're getting into , and be ready to commit more of your time to your craft than you expect. The real estate industry can be constant highs and lows. Deals fall through constantly. You have to be very resilient and know how to get up once you've been pushed to the ground. Most importantly you have to believe in yourself and believe in your ability to create opportunities. You will not get handed much in real estate except a desk and a phone. So be ready to get creative and find your lane.
"I aim to deliver the absolute best service any time, day or night. I am always reachable to answer questions, and will work as hard as it takes to get a deal done, ensuring that all parties in a transaction are treated fairly."
You can reach Damon at DamonBodine.com
Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.
What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.
The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.
There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!
Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.
Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”
While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.
That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying
the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.
This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.
Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.
That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?
Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”
While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."
In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.
We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.
As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.
What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.
The rising trend of pet-friendly offices is part of the effort to incentivize employees to come back to work in person. Many companies completely embraced the remote-friendly convenience of WFH. Digital nomad culture emerged and “second cities” arose when people exited New York, San Francisco, and LA, and headed to Denver, Austin, Charlotte, Nashville, and Raleigh.
But now, employees and employers have a choice to make. The question now is: to return or not to return to the office? This is no longer about forcing employees to commute. Post The Great Resignation, employees feel more empowered to leave in-person positions and seek out remote jobs. So if offices want people to return, they’ve got to do a ton to entice their employees.
Some huge companies with giant operating budgets are not worried. With major perks like shiny facilities and full-service food bars, they feel comfortable requiring in-office work days — even if it’s for a hybrid week. But the solution might be simpler: pet-friendly workplaces.
The Allure of Pet-Friendly Offices
According to the Washington Post, pet-friendly workplaces are becoming a common solution to improve employee morale and appease the rising number of pandemic pet owners. “As offices start reopening and thousands of workers are being called back for the first time in two years, some companies are allowing employees to bring their pets. About 23 million American households adopted a pet during the pandemic, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Many workers say they find pet-friendly environments an important perk for their new furry family members. A recent survey conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital, owned by Mars Inc., showed that 57 percent of the 1,500 pet owners polled said they would be happiest returning to a pet-friendly workplace. Half of the 500 top executives surveyed said they are planning to allow pets at the office. Tech companies including Google, Amazon, and Uber plan to continue to allow dogs at their offices, even with their flexible office policies.”
With so many people adopting and fostering since the pandemic, becoming a pet parent is a trend. And to welcome these new additions into people’s lives, it makes sense for some workplaces to welcome them into the office.
After spending unlimited amounts of time at home, many pets grew greatly attached to their “parents” — and pet-parents feel the same about their pets. Rather than keeping them locked in the house while their caretakers head off to work, this is a mutually beneficial solution to the current separation anxiety faced by pets.
Pets have also been shown to boost happiness in pet owners. According to heart.org, “Studies show that dogs reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; ease loneliness; encourage exercise and improve your overall health. For example, people with dogs tend to have lower blood pressure and are less likely to develop heart disease. Just playing with a dog has been shown to raise levels of the feel-good brain chemicals oxytocin and dopamine, creating positive feelings and bonding for both the person and their pet.” Most likely, this might have a similar effect on people who bond with animals at work that don’t even belong to them, lending an overall mood boost to the office.
The controversy behind pet-friendly workplaces
However, not everyone is as enthusiastic about the prospect. Some would rather keep the office separate from their personal lives. Some are allergic to pets. And some people simply don’t like animals.
Offices considering pet-friendly policies are weighing the pros and cons to keep everyone happy. According to the Washington Post, clear guidelines and communication can increase the chances of success.
“Before making the jump, pet experts say that leaders should first understand whether their employees have interest in, or strong feelings against, having a pet-friendly office. Doing an anonymous survey may allow employees to freely share thoughts on the matter.”
Overall, the key to a policy like this is flexibility. “Be ready to adjust: Above all, pet-friendly offices should be ready to listen and adjust their policies as they go. What works for one office may not work for another, but experts say proper planning can lessen much of the burden.”
Ensure your office is actually suited to the pets you want to welcome. “A well-developed pet-friendly office should be both safe and welcoming to pets. That means companies should consider blocking off areas that could be dangerous to pets as well as making sure pets have access to clean water, food, and places to rest.”
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