Ryan Serhant reveals his 'number one' career advice for young people (Exclusive)
Ryan Serhant is sharing some of the secrets to his success.
The star of Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing New York," which is going into its eighth season premiering on August 1, has cemented himself as one of the most successful real estate agents in Manhattan and, during a recent fireside chat for personal finance company, SoFi, he opened up about some of his best practices, giving event goers sage advice around what he considers to be smart approaches to business.
"My number one advice to the people right out of school is to pick something you really want to do. At the beginning, you’re probably going to have to work for free so that you can work for the right people versus just worrying about what your income is going to be at the beginning and then working for the wrong people," he told AOL's Gibson Johns at SoFi's "Goal Getters" event. "Also, don’t take a day off for three years. That was the advice given to me when I started, and it sucked, but it paid off."
For more from AOL's exclusive conversation with Ryan Serhant, including his everyday financial goals, making money in ways "that you can’t even anticipate," getting his start on "MDLNY" and more, read below:
You're about to take part in a fireside chat at personal finance company SoFi's "Goal Getters" event. What does being a goal getter mean to you?
My whole life is about setting goals -- setting achievable goals -- and then having plans to actually go out there and do it. So many young people say they want to make a lot of money and I say, "Okay, but how are you actually going to do it?" They say, "I’ll do this, then that" and then they don’t and they move home. So, what I really try to do is to set actionable tasks that I can do every day that I can actually control. How much money I make is not something I can really control, unless I have a job that pays me a W-2, but I’m not in a business that does that. I know that in order to make a million dollars, I have to sell a certain amount of real estate every year and, in order to sell that amount of real estate, I’ve got to meet a certain amount of people that can hopefully turn into these types of deals, do a certain number of calls, do a certain number of mailings, and if I do all that work every day, that will hopefully turn into that income. That’s work I can control, and those are the basics of how my business is broken down.
SoFi is also striving to help its members set financial goals. What’s an every day financial goal that you have for yourself?
As a sales person, we are defined by our 1099s. I could tell someone I sold one billion dollars worth of real estate, and they’ll have no idea how much money I made. What were the commissions? What were the splits? How many other agents were involved? You have no idea. I have income goals, but my financial goals are really structured around my team and my business. I have a team of 64 people, and I know I want to do at least $70 million in sales every month. If we do that, in general, that should get me to the income goals that I want to achieve.
People are here to hear from you, hoping to take away advice for their own careers and personal financial situations. Do you have go-to advice you give to people who ask you for guidance?
It all starts with the work and doing something and staying consistent about it. Think about working out: A lot of people talk about wanting to get in shape -- that’s a goal that everyone sets a the beginning of the year -- but they never do it. It’s like, what is the work going to be and how are you going to make it consistent? Also, how are you not going to bite off more than you can chew? That’s what happens with working out: People work out hardcore for 30 days straight, and then they’e like, “This sucks.” And they don’t do anymore. You shouldn’t do it like that. It’s not just about ripping off a band-aid: Start with 5 minutes a day for two weeks and see if you can do it, then do 10 minutes a day then do 15 minutes every other day and slowly grow and slowly grow. It’s the same thing for making money. There are ways you can make money that you can’t even anticipate. There are ways to make money online now. One of my income streams is YouTube -- I had no idea! One of my income streams is an online course that I announced four hours ago. I try to find as many different revenue streams as possible, because it’s 2019 and you can.
People can have many side hustles -- or main hustles!
And people appreciate that hustle and the grind, as long as you do the work. My number one advice to the people right out of school is to pick something you really want to do. At the beginning, you’re probably going to have to work for free so that you can work for the right people versus just worrying about what your income is going to be at the beginning and then working for the wrong people. Also, don’t take a day off for three years. That was the advice given to me when I started, and it sucked, but it paid off. It was like grad school for me.
Another one of your revenue streams is "Million Dollar Listing New York," which is going into its eighth season. What parts of your success do you attribute to that show? Surely it's done wonders for your career.
Listen, there’s no shame about it for me: I was renting apartments in Koreatown when I got cast in that show. I got into real estate at the end of 2008, and I got cast in 2010. At that time, I was thinking about going back to school or going to NYU and learning about real estate development or moving home, because New York was really hard. Then I got cast on the show. The show didn’t give me business and no one cared at the beginning -- everyone thought it was the stupidest thing in the world -- but what it did is, through the threat of public humiliation, it forced me psychologically to do more work and make sh-t happen. I was terrified that I was going to go on this reality show about real estate and fail and suck as a real estate agent. Who would ever hire me? I didn’t want to be the guy who was just okay, and I didn’t want to do anything stupid, either. The cameras were going to follow me for nine months, and I have no control over the edit. I had to be really, really smart about what I was doing, and the show was a metaphorical shotgun to the head that said, "You need to figure out how to do this or we are going to publicly humiliate you." That was it for me. It didn’t help overnight -- it helped me get initial listings because of the exposure I could offer -- but things got better season by season.
This is part one of Ryan Serhant's interview with AOL. Stay tuned for more ahead of the August 1 season 8 premiere of "Million Dollar Listing New York" on Bravo.