Risk Taker of the Week: Jamie Grigg
Creator of Exposed Brick DC
In September of 2013, Jamie decided to channel her love of real estate, design and a good bargain into a little blog called Exposed Brick DC. Before long (six months to be exact), what had been considered a fun side project soon took on a life of its own with over one million page views. Jamie quickly realized just how ready the local community of renters were for a curated presentation of what’s on the market. The momentum from Exposed Brick DC led Jamie into her latest venture: obtaining her real estate license and taking on listings of her own! We asked Jamie to tell us a little about the journey that brought her here, what inspires her and how she stays motivated.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken so far?
The biggest risk I have taken so far is turning EBDC into a business. Launching EBDC took courage because it is always scary to put your ideas and opinions out there for the world to see. However, now that I am working directly with clients I feel that my responsibilities have intensified. Sharing cool places to live is easy in comparison to working with a client who is relying on you solely to find them the place of their dreams.
What inspired you to take this risk?
On my first grade report card by teacher wrote, “Jamie is not a risk taker. She doesn’t raise her hand unless she is positive she knows the answer.”All my life, I have walked around thinking that I was adverse to risk. This whole experience has opened me up to the possibility of failure and the beauty of taking a risk. I knew that EBDC had potential to be something more than a blog but discovering what that looked like was a process. I am lucky that I am surrounded by friends, family, and seasoned professionals in the industry who encouraged me to take a risk (thank you Holli and Maddie!). There were certainly times when I thought all my hard work would go unnoticed but developing connections and building positive relationships was the key to staying focused and inspired.
What did you have to overcome to do this?
I have given up a lot of free time. I am continuing the work full time in public affairs as I pursue a career in real estate. I am usually working late into the evenings and on the weekends with clients. I also still have to find time to maintain EBDC. I thought it was going to be really hard to give up my nights and weekends but it has been extremely rewarding. Working with clients doesn’t feel like work because it is social and I am spending time doing what I love most, looking at apartments! It has also made me smarter about how I spend the free time that I do have. You quickly learn how to prioritize the activities and people that bring the most positive value to your life.
What was the best part of your experience?
The best part of this entire experience is the ongoing learning. Before EBDC I had never built a website, knew very little about blogging and marketing, and wasn’t licensed in real estate. Over the last two years, I have committed to learning about all of these things and I still feel like there is so much to learn. Everyday I am reading about new marketing strategies and how the market is changing. I’m glad that the best part of this experience is never ending!
Was there a point when you realized it was worth the risk?
I knew everything was worth it when I started getting positive feedback from complete strangers. It it rewarding to hear that someone found their place on EBDC. That proves the EBDC is a valuable tool that is changing the way people look for apartments.
What do you want to do next?
I am still figuring that out. I am torn because I love real estate but I also like my day job in account management. When I am ready for a big change, I would like to find a way to bring those two worlds together. For now, I will work both gigs until it becomes too time consuming.
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
Driven, independent, and personable.
Have you ever felt like giving up? What do you do to overcome that feeling?
In the beginning, I felt like things were happening very quickly. I got a lot of advice from other entrepreneurs and all of them said that things like this take time. My experience was completely different. EBDC took off quickly and then plateaued. I felt discouraged when I couldn’t maintain the initial momentum. If 24 hours passed without a media inquiry, like, tweet, or email, I felt defeated. I quickly realized that a quiet day doesn’t equate to failure. I had to reset my expectations and realize that a lot of best opportunities do come with time.
Do you have a favorite pump-up song?
I wish that my music taste was more sophisticated but it really isn’t. I can turn on the top 40 list on Spotify or the country list and always find something fun.
Do you have a favorite motivational quote/song lyric?
There isn’t one saying that I turn to but Meg Jay’s book, “The Defining Decade” really changed me. The book is all about how your 20’s are some of the most important years of your life. My close friends know I am obsessed with her and this book so they will definitely roll their eyes when they read this interview.
What advice would you share to anyone considering trying something new?
I think that a lot of people my age are searching for what they are passionate about. I think that trying something new is the only way you are going to find that passion. My advice would be to commit whole-heartedly and see where it goes. Once you have found your thing, you will know immediately.