I love to see effective marketing in play.
I have lots of friends whose marketing efforts for all sorts of businesses inspire me. They show me that there are effective ways to stand out in a crowded space of posts and links. It’s a personal touch that gives a person and business a signature feel.
Nancy Kempa does just that in her posts.
We became friends on Instagram, and talked a lot about our messaging and about life. She has one of those determined wills that is also inspiring. Have something you’d like to do or do better? Nancy’s approach is to tackle it.
I love when a subject of the #GirlsRock series also is a go-getter in different fields.
Please give Nancy a warm CD welcome. She’s an involved mom, member of her community, and hard-working entrepreneur. Those qualities will resonate with so many of you!
Eli: When you were little, what did you think you’d grow up to be?
Nancy: Ever since I was 6 years old – and for many many years – I wanted to become a marine biologist. To be honest, if I lived close to the ocean today, I would probably still chase my childhood dream of working with dolphins and orcas.
Eli: What was it about these sea creatures that appealed to you?
Nancy: It’s hard to explain but there is something about these animals that is very magical. You don’t get to see them with your own eyes only a few feet from you all too often. So when I did for the first time at 6 years old, it captivated me and left a long-lasting impression. I wanted to jump in the water with them. When I was young, I didn’t think “Oh, this super large animal could hurt me,” instead I thought “they look like they want to play.”
I was a very curious kid, so my parents naturally bought me all kinds of books, stuffed animals, and toys related to these sea creatures. To this day I have swam with dolphins twice, so that was certainly a childhood dream come true!
Eli: How much does that curiosity influence what you do today?
Nancy: I like to think that I’ve maintained this curiosity to this day. Whenever I get comfortable with what is, I try to acquire a new skill that can make my life and the lives of those around me easier. Regarding real estate, a) I am drawn to figuring out people’s specific wants and needs b) I have always been curious to see what houses look like on the inside and who lives there, and c) I’m a problem-solver. Curiosity has certainly helped me be a lifelong student and always wonder “what’s next?” or “what’s a better way of doing certain things?”
Eli: What’s a recent example of some way you discovered to do things better?
Nancy: Time management was a huge thing for me that I had to work on. Being a mom of a toddler and a realtor I had to figure out how to spend my time most efficiently. Both require my full attention at all times. As a realtor I am my own boss, so it’s easy to “slack off” when no one is holding you accountable and do other things that are not work related. I have high expectations for myself, but it wasn’t easy finding a “work-life balance” at first.
I discovered that putting essential tasks in my calendar was key, which includes play dates or going to fun places with my son as well.
I don’t allow myself to put things off till the last minute either. If I know something needs to get done by Wednesday, I’ll get it finished at the latest by Monday. Anything that does not need my attention during the day, I’ll tackle it in the evening when my son is asleep. I try to get the most time-consuming tasks done earlier in the week, just in case something unexpected comes up, then at least I still have a few days left in the week to catch up. Every Sunday I have a meeting with myself where I plan my entire week ahead, including my weekly goals.
When I talk to current clients or potential future clients, my notifications on my phone are turned off, so I do not let myself get interrupted or distracted. It really comes down to prioritizing essential tasks, being fully present at whatever I decide to spend my time on, and putting forth my best effort, both real estate and family.
Eli: You’re kind of my hero right now, Nancy. What have you been able to accomplish with all this in place, overall? In forming a life?
Nancy: Having to manage my time more efficiently actually started when I took my pre-licensing class for real estate last year. I was warned by many real estate agents that the North Carolina real estate exam was the hardest in the country and only about 10% of students passed it the first time. So I had to get mentally prepared and get my family onboard because my priorities were going to shift for a couple of weeks. Let me tell you, these realtors weren’t lying. It was tough to say the least. When I say I studied every free second that I got, I really did.
My toddler’s nap time and bedtime turned into study sessions, during my commute to and from work and while I ran errands I listened to study material (e.g., podcasts and YouTube lecture videos), lunch breaks at my job were used to go over class notes. I could go on. I was breathing real estate. I can honestly say that I gave it my very best and I passed the first time! After becoming an NC Realtor I was determined not to stop there. New agents are required to take three post-licensing courses (90 hours) within 3 years – I did all of them in under three months and earned my ‘Full Broker’ status.
I went on to get my Strategic Pricing Specialist designation so I can save my sellers time and money. And lastly, since January 2020 I am also licensed in South Carolina! In the meantime I accomplished some personal goals, such as gaining new clients, building new relationships, growing my business, starting a weekly real estate newsletter, becoming overall more structured, learning new skills such as marketing, and working on my entrepreneurial mindset.
Eli: You do so many other things too. Tell me a bit about your translator duties and other things you make time for outside of real estate and building a business.
Nancy: On the weekends I work at Charlotte Douglas Airport and translate for German passengers at Homeland Security. It was my first job after giving birth to my son. I wasn’t ready to go back to work full-time because I missed my son a lot, but at the same time it got me out of the house and gave me a chance to be around adults and make new friends. To my own surprise I am still doing exactly that now two years later – nearly every single weekend. I must admit, it comes with some really cool perks.
As you’ve seen on my Instagram, at the end of last year I met the entire Carolina Panthers team when they came back from their London trip. We were told the day before that they are coming and if we want to we can stay to help them get through customs. I volunteered to stay until 3 a.m. After informing my husband, he stopped by the store, bought a Panthers football and a hat and said “try to get a few autographs for me!” I was freaking myself out for hours. On one hand I thought “stay professional, I can’t just go up to these athletes and harass them at 3 a.m. after they’ve been on a plane for hours!”
I usually don’t even go up to strangers, but on the other hand I thought “I’ll regret it if I don’t try.” Keep in mind, all my other coworkers and supervisor didn’t bring any items to sign. It was close to 3 a.m. and here they came! I was nervous. It was now or never. One by one I asked, they were twice the size of me, and to my surprise they were all super nice. I could tell they were tired, but they signed and even smiled! Before I knew it my entire football was covered with the team’s autographs and even some coaches’.
My husband was very impressed.
About a month ago, I met the Charlotte Hornets team, but this time I didn’t go for the autographs. They were even taller than the Panthers haha.
I must say, my team is awesome. All of us have some international background – either we were born in a different country or studied abroad, or both. It’s a fun group to work with and I look forward to my weekends there. We don’t just translate, we process thousands of passengers from international flights and make sure they get to their connecting flights on time.
Besides being a mom, a realtor, and interpreter, I enjoy family time and spending time with my two dogs, Reese, a Golden Retriever and Roxy, a rescue pit. I love being at home and enjoying any alone time I can get (which is not often.) Nevertheless, this year I want to get more involved in my community.
Eli: What is next for you?
Nancy: That’s a good question and it took me a while to really think about it because it’s not a specific goal that I have in mind. I just want to keep improving, learn new things, help people and work harder than I did yesterday. I want to get to a point where I can help and inspire other people to follow their dreams. I’m just at the beginning of my journey, but I’ve come a long way and it’s mostly mindset. If I can make it happen with English as my second language and a toddler on my hip, then so can you.
Also, I’m starting to get more interested in investing and finances. I would love to help people invest in real estate and make their money work for them. At least it is a personal goal of mine to buy additional properties one day.
Eli: This has been incredible. Any advice for women out there to find momentum?
Nancy: Thank you very much, Eli! This has been a lot fun answering some great questions no one has asked me before! My advice for women to find momentum is to focus on your efforts instead of results because by doing so the results will come naturally as a side effect.
It takes time and consistent effort to create momentum; it won’t be overnight and it won’t be as soon as you would like. We live in this ‘instant society’ where we expect quick results, but you truly have to be patient and be in this for the long-run.
You have to make time to work on your dream daily. I live by the idea of becoming one percent better every day. Decide what your main priority is for that day in order for everything else to go more smoothly. Mine, for example, typically is to reach out and follow up with X amount of people, some I already know but also strangers. Once I’ve taken care of my relationships and started to build new ones, I can now do something else like doing comparative market analysis for a new client, reading a book, learning about the market, staying up to date on the latest news in real estate, learning new technology, becoming more knowledgeable about mortgages, practicing my presentations, finding the best vendors, I could go on.
I love listening to podcasts on my commute, for example, because I get to hear what experts in the industry recommend and what worked for them. It’s the small things that will all add up. It’s all about progress, not perfection.
Next, find 1-3 strategies and do them really well. Don’t try to succeed at everything and do not try to please everyone. Find a strategy that compliments your strengths.
Understand that it all comes down to mindset. You have to get really uncomfortable and put yourself out there over and over because success will be on the other side of fear. I’ve struggled with this for a while. If something new makes you nervous, that is probably a good sign that it’s the one thing that is standing between you and where you want to be. Obstacles are like a pathway to success, so don’t take the shortcut. No one likes rejection, but in this business it is to be expected to get 99 no’s before you get one yes. So just keep going.
Also, try not compare your inside to other people’s outside. Some people make it look so easy, while you are struggling to figure it all out, but just focus on your personal journey. It truly helps to know your “Why.” What’s so important to you that it will keep you going when you have a rough day?
Finally, there will come a point when you’ll realize that all the hard work, late nights and small continuous effort is paying off!
For real-estate needs, reach Nancy at 704-649-4908 or NancyKempa@kw.com. Connect with Nancy on Facebook, too.
E is for End-of-your-career awards
F is for Frank, my uncle
H is for ✊🏻 haiku (my quarantine journal)
L is for learn