Whatever calendar system you use, get your life on your calendar. This goes for meetings, calls and personal time.
Evan Harney, real estate and tech innovator, is the Co-founder and CEO of Padx, an online real estate brokerage that empowers buyers with smart search capabilities, an advanced system for scheduling home tours, and an offer writing tool to place on-demand offers. His company also rewards buyers with a 50% commission refund at the close of escrow.
Before Padx, Evan spent over 13 years in residential, commercial real estate sales and real estate investing. He owned and operated a brokerage in Beverly Hills and worked in investment banking after obtaining his MBA from the USC Marshall School of Business with a focus on entrepreneurship from the Lloyd Grief Center of Entrepreneurial Studies. As an innovator, Evan has been quoted in publications such as Forbes and InMan.
Harney lives in Marina Del Rey, California. As the CEO of Padx, he is focused on growing the company and continuing to improve the way we buy and sell real estate. He is an avid reader, enjoys connecting to nature through hiking and camping and an advocate of healthy body and mind via meditation, exercise and yoga.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
We wanted a name that implied ‘home’, that was short and was related to the process of buying and selling real estate. Since we are an online and mobile platform, it was important our name was a domain that made sense for us to secure early on. After many, many domain searches to no avail, the idea of a pad as a home came to mind. Looking at the real estate process as an exchange we used a bit of a play on words and combined Pad with Xchange. By dropping the “E” we had a name and a domain we could get. Later, we were able to acquire Padx.com and shortened the name even further. In addition, PAD represents Properties, Agents and Data to us.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day starts the night before. I say that “tomorrow begins tonight”. I have what I call a “nightly cleanse” where I cleanse any concerns, tasks, objectives, goals and meetings from my mind into a journal. This allows me to sleep better at night and be organized for the next day. I typically wake up at 6AM, which provides me with a solid hour for a morning routine and meditation without engaging in email or work. I rely on this time to get centered and be productive during the day. My mornings and afternoons are packed with in-person meetings, conference calls and strategic planning. In the evening I do my best to get in yoga, pilates and/or cardio. What makes me most productive is blocking out one-hour increments of the day, having a clear “why” for my day and meditation/exercise. This enables me to have a road map and ensures my body and mind are strong for the tasks of the day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Get started, share it with someone else and then act. I am an incredibly idea-oriented person. Ideas are worthless without execution and the best ideas are cultivated with a team. To bring them to life I have to be vulnerable enough to share them with someone else and keep the idea moving forward. Each action leads to a new iteration of that idea and if I continue to progress, I typically wind up with a different finished product, but more battle tested and valuable than what was originally in my mind. In this spirit, at Padx we have a weekly creative meeting, where we encourage any and all ideas to be presented by our team members and encourage everyone to think big. I am fortunate to have the most amazing team an entrepreneur could ever ask for.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The trends taking place in real estate technology are what most excite me. However, it wasn’t the trend that motivated us to create Padx. We were providing a solution to problems we saw in the market. Nevertheless, after working in this space myself, and seeing all of the incredibly innovative companies and technologies that are providing value in the industry, I am compelled each day to continue to create and innovate in this dynamic space we are in.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Meditation. I meditate daily for a minimum of 20 minutes. It’s easy to lose productivity if our minds get caught in the past or is too focused on the future. Through practicing meditation, I have been able to train my mind to be in the present more often. I am most productive when I meditate and take time to connect to the present moment approach my day one task/call/meeting at a time.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self that other people’s opinion of me is none of my business. When I was in my 20s it was very important for me to show up for the world in a way I thought everyone expected me to. I made other people’s opinion of me my primary business. When I embraced a new mindset, I became more authentic and assertive. I feel we show people greater respect when we are authentic even if they may not see things the same way we do. I have found that I can both respect other people’s opinions and be true to myself. Without this mindset Padx would not have come to light because I would have been creating to please others, rather than creating from a place of authenticity.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You have to let go of the need for certainty to succeed. I think it is all too common, in our culture, to believe that if we push and work hard enough we will be able to control outcomes. What I have found is that I have to set a clear intention and understand what measures success with respect to that intention. I can then act, but I must let go of the need for certainty with respect to results. This has made a huge difference in my personal and professional life. When I have let go of what expectations I have of the results, I have made space for even bigger opportunities than I could have imagined.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Whatever calendar system you use, get your life on your calendar. This goes for meetings, calls and personal time. Entrepreneurs can be seduced into the belief that if they put all of their time, energy and thinking into their business, they will one day have more time for themselves and loved ones. It is equally important to schedule time for yourself and your loved ones as it is to schedule time for business. If you neglect scheduling time for yourself and your loved ones, you will not make time for them or yourself. In my experience, this is where even the most exciting work can begin to feel like a chore. Alternatively, even the most tedious work is a gift when you know what you’re working for and you’re thriving in various aspects of your life.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One of the biggest strategies we have employed to growing the business is to invest in the product, specifically the customer experience. I come from a sales background and was focused on getting our product to an MVP and then generating revenue. As a result, very early on I was prepared to invest a significant marketing budget towards that goal. One of our advisors thankfully suggested that our priority should be to develop the best customer experience we could. By creating a better customer experience, we developed a better product, attracted talent, investors, publicity and customers, all of which has provided growth to our company.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have had partnerships that did not work out in business for one reason or another. What I learned from this is that there are times when you have to trust yourself and move on. Those times I trusted the process, I was able to move on to bigger and better things that were far better aligned with my purpose. The primary challenges were accepting that the partnerships were no longer serving their intended purpose and letting go of the business relationships. Setbacks are inevitable, failure is only a state of mind when misfortune is viewed as permanent and pervasive.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I don’t have a specific business in mind, but I do have a general way of thinking about innovation to suggest readers. There is innovation taking place every day, everywhere. Take a look at the businesses that are taking off in your area and/or look at companies in innovative hubs that your region could benefit from. Find a way to deliver that product/service with an improved customer experience and different spin, then scale it.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
As I mentioned earlier, it is so important for us to schedule time for ourselves and our loved ones. I am still working on the self-care part and understanding that this is integral for me to be my most productive. Recently, I scheduled a deep tissue massage on a Monday evening at a great spot in Santa Monica, CA. It was very relaxing with sounds of waves playing in the background and I felt completely rejuvenated after. It was $100 exactly, with tip, and was worth every penny.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Google calendar is critical for my production. We have our calendars set up for our whole team to view and it makes it very easy for people to invite me to events and appointments. Personal appointments we can segment as private. Once it’s in the calendar, it is going to get done and it definitely keeps me focused.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I am an avid reader. I generally read a book every 1-2 weeks. That said, I have dozens of business books I could recommend. However, I would recommend picking up this non-business book: “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. You’re not going to learn stuff like vulnerability, embracing imperfections, etc. in MBA school…which is exactly why I highly recommend this book. There are very clear takeaways that you can apply to your personal and professional life that will make a dramatic difference. If you prioritize self-awareness and personal growth, everything in your life, including business, will thrive.
What is your favorite quote?
I drive past a building on my way to the office that has this quote painted on it “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be” by Abraham Lincoln. He was letting us know that happiness is a choice. Although, circumstances can make it more challenging to make the choice of happiness, joy, expansion, creativity, etc., we do have a choice.
• Tomorrow begins tonight
• Meditation can center you to be able to create and be productive
• Other people’s opinion of you are none of your business
• Failure only occurs when misfortune is viewed as permanent and pervasive
• Happiness is a choice
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.