“5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became the CEO of Condo Weekly,” With Tim McMullen
Stay humble. Be open to receiving critical feedback, and take it as a sign that the person giving the criticism cares about you. They are trying to help you improve. Don’t assume that your ideas are necessarily the best. Try to reframe any criticism in your mind as a compliment.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia. I was given a full scholarship to play football at Oregon State University as a punter. After graduation, I pursued a career in the NFL, and then founded a corporate health company. I created a la carte health and wellness programs for startup companies.
Looking forward, I wanted to move into an industry that had no limits to scale. I picked real estate because it fits that criteria, and also because I saw an opportunity that others didn’t see. There was untapped potential to disrupt a slow moving boomer-filled market. I knew that I had the ability to use video marketing and social media to change the game in San Francisco. It also became apparent to me that frontier technologies like augmented reality would be game changers for the real estate industry.
Then I joined Gueco Real Estate. I met the founder, Kevin Gueco, through an episode of my Youtube series “Tour With Tim”, where I show high end real estate properties in SF. Kevin saw the value I added and took me on board. I joined Gueco as a Director of content as well as an agent.
Kevin shared a similar vision for the real estate industry and was working on his own technology to streamline the back end processes of the real estate transaction, so our alignment was truly seamless.
Gueco flourished during this period. In 2017, Gueco did 52 million in sales. I joined in 2018, and sales that year doubled to 110 million, including a $17,000,000 international penthouse listing, the highest penthouse in the Southern Hemisphere in Melbourne, Australia.
I was recruited to sell the Four Seasons Private Residences by the development firm Millennium Partners. I was representing $1.2B dollars worth of real estate and condo listings by the age of 30.
I left because Condo Weekly, a side project at that point, was starting to gain traction. It made strategic and financial sense to leave and focus on this project.
Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?
For the first 12 months, I had to do everything on my own, which was difficult. I had to generate income while also building out lead generation — so I not only had to learn on my own, but also had to execute as well.
The lesson I learned is this: don’t try to do everything by yourself — be humble and know when certain people can do certain things better. At the same time, you also need to be good at enough things to get something off the ground. In the beginning, the only person who is gonna believe in your vision is you.
The most important skill to learn is speed — how quickly can you learn and execute? You don’t have to be an expert, just good enough to get things done. After that, since you have baseline, you can start to delegate as well.
When you launch a startup, the most important thing to learn is learning quickly.
What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?
Having intimate knowledge of every building and being able to visually represent it better than everyone else. It’s not enough to just be an expert and know a building. It’s possible that other real estate professionals also know a lot about these buildings, but if they can’t scale that knowledge and be an authority on the topic, particularly for the tech savvy millennial generation, then they’ll never be able to scale beyond their individual efforts and time.
My ability to create quality content quickly was another major asset. My videography skill set was a huge factor in this.
Another factor was understanding distribution and how to use it — different channels are useful for different reasons. In 2019 and beyond, video is king. This is simply how people want to consume, especially the next generation of buyers. The key is anticipation. Skate to where the puck is going, not where it is.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.
- You should focus on becoming baseline competent at many things, rather than an expert in one specific thing. When you need an expert, you can always delegate the work. Remember that you only have 24 hours in a day.
- Don’t be afraid to be honest about your failures. When you show your humanity and own up to your mistakes, people trust you more.
- Keep an eye on trends, especially generational trends. I noticed that everyone was staring at their smartphones, and creating and watching video content. I took advantage of this and applied it to real estate in San Francisco. Whatever you’re working on, don’t just think about what’s working now — think about what could work in the near future that no one else is noticing.
- Be prepared for critics. You should anticipate that you will be widely criticized and even receive vitriol and personal attacks on social media — this is part of what becoming successful is about. If people view you as a threat to their identity and the status quo, they will not hesitate to come after you. Be prepared and have thick skin, it will take longer than you want it to for the crowds of haters to turn into fans.
- Stay humble. Be open to receiving critical feedback, and take it as a sign that the person giving the criticism cares about you. They are trying to help you improve. Don’t assume that your ideas are necessarily the best. Try to reframe any criticism in your mind as a compliment.
What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
You will burn out if you’re not driven and passionate about your project. My advice is that if you’re not willing to compete with someone who is so driven that they chose productivity over sleep, you’ll probably burn out along the way. It’s critical to find something you like so much that burnout is not even possible. It has to pull you out of bed every day. Falling in love with the chase might sound cliche, but if you’re only in it for the result, you’ll likely never get there.
Once you start losing passion, it’s game over.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Kevin Gueco: he believed in my vision that real estate would become a highly visual content driven industry before I put any content based platform together. He backed me the entire way and let me take a lot of risks and experiment before I got it right, so I owe him a lot.
What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?
I want Condo Weekly to have 50% market share in San Francisco’s condo buildings before we start expanding to other cities like NYC, LA, Miami, Melbourne, and Sydney
My long term dream career is to become a top NFL sports agent. Between my experience as a collegiate athlete and my experience as an agent now, I feel like I’m becoming well groomed to succeed in this space.
I’d ultimately like to split my time living between Australia and the US.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!
Being willing to try anything and pursue hard things. On my own social media I’ve documented the creation of Condo Weekly. I hope that people can see my trials and errors and be willing to share their failures because it shows that you’re human. It corroborates the story in people’s heads that you’re just like them and they’re just like you. If you paint the picture that your life and work are perfect, people can’t relate to you anymore. Share your failures and you’ll gain trust and followers.
How can our readers follow you on social media?