What the Black Sheep Means to Me

I realize it was just a short time ago, Angie wrote a blog about the Black Sheep as we introduced our new mascot.

Since then, we’ve gotten a lot of comments on the drawing that we call our own (Thanks again, Liz!).

“He looks angry”, we’ve heard.  “Why is he so smug?”

The look of the black sheep was important as we went through many iterations of the drawing.  From the way the hair flips up, the lifted foot over the stepping stone and yes, the smirk upon his face.

So why did we choose this look?

As you know, Angie and I recently returned from vacation and have been working on improving our systems to get ready for more agents.  We’ve spent some time away reflecting and some time in the office analyzing our brokerage.  Its through this retrospective time that I’ve realized why, subconsciously, we were drawn to this version of the mascot.

To explain, I want to back up.  I started in the creative real estate business twelve years ago.  Back then, there were very few clubs, seminars and online tools to learn how to do the business.  The business was unheard of by most, pushed by few, and understood by even fewer.  It is definitely what I would call an “underground” business.

Even though I was an independent entrepreneur, with Angie joining me a couple of years later, and even though we were making enough money to avoid the J-O-B, it still always seemed like an “underground business”.  My friends couldn’t quite grasp what I was doing, and my family worried I was involved in a scam.

Since then, the number of seminars and gurus has grown and so has awareness.  And television shows about house flipping have legitimized at least one aspect of the gig.  But owner-financed wraps, wholesaling and other strategies have still remained largely misunderstood, questioned and thought of as “hokey.”

That has left our business in a perpetual state of infancy; where the tools we use are adapted from other businesses rather than being built for us.  There is no greater evidence of that than with our continual struggle with title, where branches that give us service do not understand our creative deals and fee attorneys that don’t live up to the service of traditional title companies.  But it extends to lenders, lead management tools and even accounting software which all either has to be adapted to fit our business or created from scratch.  Brokerages that accept creative real estate investors really just tolerate them, they aren’t made for them.

We, as investors, remain an underground business that is misunderstood, looked down upon and feared.

That more than anything is what we, StepStone Realty, want to change.  It’s time it changed.  It’s time to bring creative real estate investing into 2016.  It’s time we had modern services and modern tools made specifically for us.  It’s time we hold our heads high and realize we provide a great service to our communities and can do so much more.  Its time we rid this industry of the scammers and sharks that give it such a bad name.  It’s time to bring the business of creative real estate investing into the mainstream.

Our future at StepStone is to bring those tools, to bring a sense of community responsibility, and to bring a drive to serve sellers and each other with a high level of honesty and integrity.

This is a business you can be proud of!

And you deserve to be proud of it and be successful at it, and you deserve to have the tools and services at your disposal that were made specifically for you.  Tools that are modern, useful and make you look like the professional you are to your clients.  StepStone is here to legitimize the practice of finding solutions for sellers; including the creative solutions.

So the black sheep is not angry.  The black sheep is proud.  And you should be too!