Interview: Tanya Lavoie with Gary Greene Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate

Tanya Lavoie, Real Estate Professional

Tanya Lavoie, Real Estate Professional

Tanya Lavoie is a successful Real Estate professional with Gary Greene Better Homes & Gardens in the Houston, Texas area.  She is the mother of two teenage daughters and the director of a thriving networking group for women.

“Look for support.  Be with people who will support and teach you.  Be gentle with yourself – life has a learning curve. “

MG:  Sum up your business in three sentences or less.

TL:  I am a realtor who specializes in residential homes.  I am a relocation specialist and enjoy finding homes for folks who are relocating from out of state.  I work with buyers and sellers

MG:  Where do you sell your products?

TL: Magnolia, The Woodlands, Spring areas

MG:  Why did you choose to start your business?

TL: Looking to be self employed.  I needed a flexible schedule.

MG:  Where do you find new clients?

TL: Referrals!

MG:  What makes your product or service different?  Why should someone purchase from you instead of your competition?

TL:  5 Star Customer Service

MG:  For whom are you thankful?

TL:  My clients, friends, family.

MG:  What are some of your favorite books?

TL:  Water for Elephants,  Think and Grow Rich

MG:  Define your style?

TL:  CASUAL!

MG:  Tell me about your typical day.

TL: Up at 5am to take my daughter to swim practice.  I make sure the animals are fed and walked.  I check my emails and facebook account.  By 9am I am working with clients, networking, or learning about real estate.  By evening my mom hat comes back on!

MG:  How do you juggle work and family?

TL:  By juggling!  It is not always easy.  A planner and setting boundaries is necessary.  I am not always perfect – especially since I want to be there for everyone!

MG:  Three tips you would like to give to moms who are thinking about starting their own business?

TL:  Look for support.  Be with people who will support and teach you.  Be gentle with yourself – life has a learning curve.  Be good at time management and set priorities.

MG:  How have you grown as a person since starting your company?

TL:  I am still learning.  I have learned to say NO to some clients who might not respect my time.  I have learned to carve time for family and for myself.  I give a lot to my clients but now I have learned to turn off my phone, or take at least ONE day off.  I like to help new business owners grow.

MG:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

TL:  With an assistant and my broker’s license.

MG:  What else would you like to add?

TL:  Have FUN!


Connect with Tanya Lavoie:

Website:  www.livinginthewoodlands.com

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/livinginthewoodlands

Twitter:  @tanyashoutsout

Conduits of Love

Gratitude is Good for Business: Tips to Keep Your Customers and Your Co-Workers Happy

Ladies and gentleman, for lack of a better word, gratitude is good.

I am twisting the famous line from the iconic 80’s movie Wall Street to illustrate a point.

Philanthropist Steven Burgess tells us “we were created to be conduits of love, kindness and goodness.” Is it even possible to be such a conduit when you have feelings of greed, lack and resentment?

We all know the answer is NO.

The remedy for greed, lack and resentment is gratitude.

Gratitude is good. It’s good for your soul, it’s good for relationships and it’s good for your business.

Let’s chat about business.

“Of all the attitudes we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important, and by far, the most life changing.” – Zig Ziglar

Gratitude creates a happier work place. Per an article by Mike Robbins entitled Staff Retention: The Power of Appreciation at Work on the website CIO.com:

“According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 64 percent of Americans who leave their jobs say they do so because they don’t feel appreciated. Gallup reports that almost 70 percent of people in the United States say they receive no praise or recognition in the workplace. As a culture, we don’t do a very good job of expressing our appreciation for one another, especially at work.”

So how do you keep employees?

According to Robbins, it starts with you. The first step is to find things about your own work for which you are grateful and then TELL OTHERS! This act of telling others spreads the gratitude around, like manure, so that more gratitude can sprout. Once you are in this attitude of gratitude, you will start to see things about your co-workers and direct reports that you appreciate. The next step is vital! TELL THEM!

Say “thank you!” Not saying thank you does more damage than saying thank you does good.  Publicly acknowledge when someone does good.

Send a greeting card or gift. In fact, make it a habit to send a greeting card or three each day! Mary Kay Ash built her 1.2 billion dollar cosmetics empire by sending 3 cards per day. Tom Hopkins, arguably the greatest sales trainer in the world sends 10 cards. Back in the old days when he sold real estate, he wrote those cards by hand. Today, he uses the same time saving and simple but powerful greeting card system that I use in my custom furniture business.

Once you start to do all these things, something remarkable will happen that can best be explained in a parable:

Imagine you are an investor. You find a piece of property you’d like to develop so you contact the listing agent. The price is right so you purchase the property and the agent recommends an architect, the architect recommends a general contractor, and the general contractor recommends a landscaper and so on. Six months later, your office building is complete and something remarkable happens. You begin receiving thank you cards and gifts from each of the contractors and sub-contractors who worked on your project. Even if the punch list of needed repairs is a mile long, every single member of that builder team has demonstrated their appreciation to you. You will have confidence that they will complete any necessary repairs AND they will be the first team you call the next time you have a project to build.

Ladies and gentleman, Gratitude is good for business.

In Growing Your Business Through Practicing Gratitude in Forbes, Stacey Power postulates:

“Focusing on gratitude, and really noticing on a daily basis which clients I was grateful for helped me become very clear about the mission of my business, and it was then I renamed the business Creating Answers and made a bold decision: I was only going to do work I loved, and I was only going to work with clients that I loved; ones that I felt grateful for.”

Imagine that, only doing business with clients for whom you are grateful.

If you are a business owner, this is tad easier to accomplish. I have fired clients. In fact, about 5 or 6 years ago, we fired our largest wholesale client. I am here to testify, that was the BEST decision our company ever made.

If you do not have the luxury of firing clients, how about focusing more energy on the clients that make you feel good and less on the ones that create the biggest headaches. OR, make an attitude shift!

This little trick worked for me… back when I worked for The North Face there was a ski shop owner in Vail named “John”.  EVERYONE at TNF dreaded talking to him. When I took over the Rocky Mountain territory, I decided that I would kill John with kindness. I was as sweet as apple pie every time he called. You know what? Every year until I left, I received a Christmas present from John.   That is what you call REVERSE GRATITUDE!

Gratitude is good for business!

Implement a gratitude strategy in your career.  Create a social bank account and make regular deposits.  Here are some simple ways:

  • Send birthday cards and gifts to employees and coworkers
  • Help others feel good about themselves
  • Seek ways to make others look good
  • Seek out ways to help others be valuable to those they serve

When you do this, you become remarkable… people tell others about you! They “remark” about you and soon not only will your business thrive but so will your personal relationship and your soul.

Gratitude is good for the soul.


Boba Fett and Kandas Nesbitt-Rodarte

Boba Fett and Kandas Nesbitt-Rodarte

About the Author:

Kandas Nesbitt-Rodarte founded MomGeek.com in 1999. She is a pioneer in online custom furniture sales, award-winning speaker, coffee lover, Sci-Fi fan, mom, NADA certified Archery instructor, Girl Scout leader and all-around groovy woman.  Not necessarily in that order.

When she isn’t hanging out with her good pal, Bobba Fett, Kandas can be found teaching small business owners how she grew her custom furniture business by replacing traditional advertising with an Appreciation Marketing System.

How to Hit a Home Run and Still Lose the Game

by Kandas Nesbitt-Rodarte

Only swing when you know where your ball is going to land.

I have told you before, I am a geek. I sing it loud and proud!   Sometimes, the only way I know how to explain something that is important, is via Sci Fi.  I’ve shared with you important concepts via Sci Fi – like how to reinvent yourself and how to meet the perfect husband. (Okay, maybe I haven’t shared that story, yet.)

Today, I am going to share a parable about marketing by way of a video of Darth Vader hitting one out of the baseball park:

 

Here’s the the short and sweet of it:   When it comes to marketing (and life for that matter) do not get so bogged down in the hitting of the ball that you lose sight of your ultimate goal. Don’t just swing randomly at the balls that are thrown at you. Find your target and aim. Only swing when you know where your ball is going to land.

Seth Godin has some choice words to say on this topic earlier this week that are worth reading.  In general, Seth Godin has a lot of good, outside-the-box, things to say about marketing. Rule of thumb if you want to do things right, pay attention to the people who think outside the box, and you won’t lose anymore marketing games.

In the interest of collaboration, share a marketing win or loss you had in the comments below.  We learn best from our shared experiences.


Boba Fett and Kandas Nesbitt-Rodarte

Boba Fett and Kandas Nesbitt-Rodarte

About the Author:

Kandas Nesbitt-Rodarte founded MomGeek.com in 1999. She is a pioneer in online custom furniture sales, award-winning speaker, coffee lover, Sci-Fi fan, mom, NADA certified Archery instructor, Girl Scout leader and all-around groovy woman.  Not necessarily in that order.   When she isn’t hanging out with her good pal, Bobba Fett, Kandas can be found teaching small business owners how she grew her custom furniture business by replacing traditional advertising with an Appreciation Marketing System.

The Stinky Life

by Leah Lamp

“I realized I had become a permanent resident of Mars which turns out to be a very gaseous planet.”

I grew up roughly 1,000 miles from where my grandparents lived and because of the distance, I didn’t get to see them very often. When I did get to visit them, I was particularly impressed with my grandfather. He was an admirable man. Even though he only went to school through the 10th grade he was one of the wisest men I’ve ever known. He served in WWII and after the war went on to provide for his wife and nine kids by owning a carpentry business and a hardware store. But as a small child, I didn’t know all of this, I just knew how people treated him. When he spoke, people listened and many came to him for his advice. Also in a room full of family talking all around him, my grandfather would randomly lean over on one butt cheek and fart…loud! No one would acknowledge it at all, there would be no lull in the conversation. That’s impressive to a young girl!

I was raised in an all female household. My dad was in my life but not in my home. It was me, my sister, my mom and my aunt. We loved to laugh. We laughed all the time but bodily functions were not in our repertoire of jokes. They just weren’t. So when I grew up and got married I was in for a bit of culture shock and that my grandfather was not so unusual. You see, the longer I was married the more I came to realize that while girls are girls, women are women and boys are boys, men are…boys. I would say grown up boys but then, not so much. Sorry guys, but your sense of humor reaches maturity in the 7th grade.

Then to prove that God has a sense of humor he blessed us with a son…and then another son…and then another son. If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, I realized I had become a permanent resident of Mars which turns out to be a very gaseous planet.

Me, my three boys and my boy husband all love to laugh and farting is the height of hilarity at my house. I will never cease to be amazed at the euphemisms associated with farting; pooting (or a drive by pooting), cutting the cheese, launching an air biscuit. I could go on…and on. So when I found myself pregnant with a little girl…AH!..I was so overjoyed! I was never really a girly-girl but suddenly baby dolls, ribbons and hair bows filled my head. Then the idea of pink ruffled revenge became to take shape. Finally, I had someone on MY side, someone to help me take back the house a little.

So I gave birth to this perfect, sweet, beautiful little girl. When my boys, aged 10, 8, and 6, came to the hospital to meet her, my husband placed the precious bundle in the arms of my oldest son and the other boys gathered around. It was so funny to see the abject fear on their faces at this…thing. They hovered over her as if she were a bomb that could explode at any moment which is a very apt description because at that moment this loud, long and juicy sounding fart emanated from my sweet baby girl. It was at this precise moment that two things happened; it was then that I got to see my three boys fall completely in love with their baby sister and it was the moment that I realized…she was one of THEM!


Leah Lamp

Leah Lamp

About the Author:

Leah Lamp is an aspiring writer who loves to laugh and hates broccoli and any form of housework. She lives in the piney woods of Texas with her husband, four stinky kids, and an even stinkier hound dog. You can visit her blog at http://leahsbreadandroses.blogspot.com/

Zeus vs. Odin

by Kandas Nesbitt-Rodarte

…a gift from the weather gods.

When Hurricane Ike put our lives on hold in September 2008 we celebrated the simplicity. We dined with neighbors, sharing our food and resources. We read, because there was no TV or internet. We went outside, because there was nothing to keep us inside. We cleaned up our yard, because it was messy!   It was wonderful.   Today, we look back at Hurricane Ike as a gift from the weather gods.

Lightening Storm over Montgomery County, Texas

Lightening Storm over Montgomery County, Texas

The other night we dropped everything we were doing to sit outside on the curb and watch Zeus battle it out with Odin in the clouds above our neighborhood.  The only sounds we heard were the crickets and the occasional passing car.  However, the sky put on a show for us that is well worth sharing.  Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite weather stories? Leave them in the comments below.

 


Boba Fett and Kandas Nesbitt-Rodarte

Boba Fett and Kandas Nesbitt-Rodarte

About the Author:

Kandas Nesbitt-Rodarte founded MomGeek.com in 1999. She is a pioneer in online custom furniture sales, award-winning speaker, coffee lover, Sci-Fi fan, mom, NADA certified Archery instructor, Girl Scout leader and all-around groovy woman.  Not necessarily in that order.   When she isn’t hanging out with her good pal, Bobba Fett, Kandas can be found teaching small business owners how she grew her custom furniture business by replacing traditional advertising with an Appreciation Marketing System.