When launching a new arm of the business – we dream it, sleep on it, lose sleep over it, discuss it and then sit down and plan it.
Anna Singleton is CEO of Show My PropertyTV, a leading digital marketing agency that produces state-of-the-art videos, photography and social media, often including VR, for real estate businesses. It specializes in apartment video tours and virtual reality for multifamily housing, apartments, student housing and hotels. Anna is a former UK television host who emigrated to the U.S. seven years ago. She noticed a gap in the real estate market for digital content and was determined to capitalize on it by starting her own business. She has grown a nationwide network of videographers, droners and photographers under the Show My Property name. It now offers digital content creation and social media management throughout the U.S. SMP serves the largest property management companies and hotels. It believes digital storytelling is the future of selling. Christina Singleton is SMP’s Vice President.
Where did the idea for Show My Property (SMP) come from?
Anna: It all started with an empty apartment building I was living in. I convinced the Property Manager to let me film a marketing video, featuring me. She did and to cut a long story short the CEO called me and advised me it was the best marketing he’d ever seen and could I film twenty more? That was our first client. Luckily for us Show My Property TV has now grown to create property videos in every state. We shoot student housing, hotel videos and apartment videos. We have the largest market share and recently added Virtual Reality and social media to our agency offerings.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Christina: Everyday is productive – we don’t have a moment to be unproductive! We’re English, so every morning starts with tea. Once that’s been sipped whilst wading through an ocean of emails, then we’re off! –from brainstorming social-media campaign ideas or unique video concepts that showcase the newest multifamily lease-ups across the country to ensuring our Virtual Reality experiences are loaded onto our headsets for client demos. Each day is different but jam-packed full of creativity, the latest technology and managing meant to inspire our awesome sales, production and social media teams. I love each part of my day, but speaking to my clients and helping them plan innovative ideas that will wow their residents and competitors is what makes me tick. After about 10 more cups-of-tea, a few necessary sales calls, some banter with the team and a few multifamily industry jokes, then we tick-off the to-do list and call it a day, ready for the next crazy one, tomorrow.
How do you bring your business idea to life?
Christina: I’m a logistics girl at heart with a very creative mind. I think BIG then figure out how to viably bring these ideas to life. When launching a new arm of the business – we dream it, sleep on it, lose sleep over it, discuss it and then sit down and plan it. We’re risk takers, so once we’ve pieced together the new business idea – then we sell it. Once we have a client for our new pilot scheme then we work day and night with our expert in-house team ensuring we release incredible, perfected products and services to our clients. We may have endured a few heart-attacks up to delivery but the result is always a smile on our face and theirs. Within our team at Show My Property TV we have experts that can solve any issue that arises. Dan is our technical genius, Hannah is a pro Director, Jason can make any client smile and Natalie guides us to all the latest social media trends. These are a few of our team members that help drive new ideas forward to life and market.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Anna: As the owner of a digital agency w/ a focus on VR I am super excited to watch Virtual Reality translate to real estate. Every day I am amazed by the new platforms and genius that I see in the world of VR. We stepped in lightly as it wasn’t our expertise but we figured out a way to use VR to show Apartments and our clients are VERY excited by this. Show My Property is also using Virtual Reality for hotels too.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Anna: Just. Show. Up. Sometimes it’s hard to face another day, to employ one more team member, to entertain one more client. Some days I have a tough time thinking through the 8 million things I have to do every single day. I have always found it’s like the gym–just put your shoes on and get through the door and the rest just happens. We produce hundreds of hotel videos a year and even thinking about all that goes into that from every member of my team is exhausting, but I just keep showing up.
What advice would you give your younger self? –
Christina: Ha! I could write 10 pages of advice I should have told myself. But I wish I’d known long ago that creativity can run a business too. I was led to believe that people were either creative OR business minded, yet I didn’t realize that you can be both. I spent my life being ‘the creative’ one in our family and Anna was always ‘the entrepreneur’ so I never saw myself ending-up in business – especially with her! It took me years to accept that I can be in business too and that I have great business capabilities – alongside creativity. I watch Anna drive a hugely important aspect of this business, which I humbly know I never could. But I now know that what I bring to this business but doubted it for a long time because I was ‘the creative’ one.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Anna: If you eat chocolate after 7pm the calories don’t count.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Anna: Look for more revenue sources. The best way to grow a company fiscally in my humble opinion is to listen to your clients’ headaches and needs and try to help them. I believe it’s easier to invent new products and services to sell your existing clients, whilst building new relationships, than consistently looking for new clients. Adding peripheral services like photography, VR and Social has allowed us to scale really fast.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Christina: I think this is simple. Be honest. Our business has been so successful because of the relationships we have grown in the multifamily and student housing industries. When we launch a new product or service we have the relationships in-place so major key players will sign up or purchase what we’re offering. That’s because they trust us. We call a spade a spade. Show My Property TV does not sell clients what they don’t want or need. We’re honest in the beginning, right to the end. We don’t over promise. We’re honest to each other, honest to our clients and ask our clients to be honest with us, everyone knows where they stand.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Anna: My first business, a dating agency for good looking people. I convinced some good looking people to pool some cash and start this. Please note that this was way before Match was even invented, I was 18 and convinced I could pull this off. I got as far as spending everyone’s money on an average website and some marketing materials and then everything crumbled and we ran out of money before we even started. It is a shame really as I could have been one of the first to market. Another skilled entrepreneur has pulled this off and it’s now a huge business. Props to them.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Anna: Start a dating agency for a niche clientele.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Christina: I took myself on a date to see my current favorite acoustic musician – Nick Mulvey – bought myself some beers and a veggie sandwich– Ubered there and back. 100 bucks well spent.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Christina: Our CRM is GetBase which helps log our mountain of clients and ensure we have every conversation, email, phone call etc. stored and logged.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Christina: A book which has helped me in my professional and personal life is The Four Agreements—A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz. A simple philosophy book that teaches you to be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions and always do your best. These four agreements you make with yourself assure you are honest and have integrity which is perfect for client relationships, don’t take things to heart – which is essential in business, don’t make assumptions – essential in sales– and always do your best. This one is my favorite. When I walk away from the office at the end of each day I need to know that I gave my best 100%.
What is your favorite quote?
Anna: You have as many hours in the day as Beyonce.
- Be honest, from beginning to end
- Just show up!
- Don’t waste a moment to be productive
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.