John Stevenson - Founder of  John Stevenson Real Estate

I get up early and go to bed early. You can’t think or be productive when you spent the night unwinding in front of the TV.

John Stevenson works tirelessly as a real estate partner with successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, and venture capitalists in the region. He founded his own real estate company, John Stevenson Real Estate, in 2011.

John’s abilities in presentation, negotiation, and management were developed as a result of his tenure as president and CEO of J&J Window Wash, during which he rubbed shoulders with literally hundreds of customers in the Las Vegas Valley. This experience has provided him with greater insight when analyzing proper home improvements and competitive pricing and has allowed him to develop greater skills as a negotiator.

His passion for real estate development is limitless, and he is committed to both professional and personal growth, no matter what challenge he may face. Today, even a sluggish economy is no hindrance — John has managed to improve his business by an average of 28 percent despite the United States’ current economic woes.

John is fully dedicated to the growth of real estate in the Las Vegas community. He has owned and invested in numerous properties in the area, and he currently lives there with his lovely wife and three children.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

The funny thing is the agent who helped me buy a house turned me onto this industry. I was told I would be great at it because I was the one who actually did all of the negotiating for my home purchase with the listing agent. I did it because my other agent was not doing anything and I was going to lose my $9,000 in escrow if I didn’t step in.

I needed a change, too. I built up my other successful company and wanted to provide more professional services in an environment different from my window cleaning and power washing company.

What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?

I block out certain times on my schedule to get the most important things done and then fit the not-so-important items around those activities. When prospecting, calling my client base, and nurturing clients by mail, email, and phone are complete, I’m the most productive.

Busy work — including paperwork, personal stuff, phone calls from friends who want to chat during the day, and time-wasting activities — are very intrusive. I try to get rid of that aspect so I can spend my time doing the things that lead to more income in my pocket.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I do a lot of research and brainstorming. I usually just start on a small part of the idea, and once I get into it, other ideas come into my mind to help me build a bigger picture of what I am doing. Too many people plan too much — meaning they plan, plan, plan and never start. You just have to begin, and ideas will come to you when your feet are moving

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I am really excited to see more professionals coming to Vegas — many of them being luxury buyers! I don’t want this town to only gain revenue from gaming, and it’s good to see startups and tech companies making their way here because of our good business climate.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I get up early and go to bed early. You can’t think or be productive when you spent the night unwinding in front of the TV.

I believe in the old adage “early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?

That is a hard question. Before owning my window cleaning company, I was a financial advisor. The only thing that really made me upset was that I worked for a controlling boss — and also lived with him.

I also worked for a logging company many years ago, and I learned that my body wears out, which will make my earning power go down. My mind, though, can be sharp and get better with time and experience, and it can net me more money than a physical labor job. Although, I love physical labor!

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would obviously not make all of the marketing mistakes I made in the beginning, including using interruption marketing instead of inbound marketing. But more than that, I would have only invested in my company and not trusted other people with my money.

I lost $220,000 in Ponzi and day-trading schemes that cost me four years of profits — not to mention the $70,000 I spent on terrible SEO companies that cared nothing for the user experience and the responsibility we have to educate others on the problems they’re having.

They have a problem, and you have a solution. As a business, if you educate consumers and don’t ask for the sale, they’ll want to work with you so badly they’ll pound your door down.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Make a personal budget tied to a personal credit card and bank account, and have a business budget tied to a business bank account and credit card. Review your budget every month, and hold yourself accountable.

Separate everything. Start your business correctly by laying the proper foundation because if you don’t, you will have to fix it later, which will cost you a lot of money and heartache.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I always keep in contact with my customers and clients, including past clients. If you nurture your clients — past and present — they’ll take care of you. Also, having a website is very important. I built my first business in the first five years by knocking on doors, then I doubled it with my Internet presence.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

One failure I had was thinking that others could invest my money better than I could. As I mentioned before, I lost quite a bit of money in Ponzi and day-trading schemes and spent a lot of money on bad SEO companies. I learned that no one cares about my business the way I do and no one will promote it the way I will.

If you do decide to look to outside sources to invest your money for you, remember that no matter what their track record is, their No. 1 goal is to make sure they take care of themselves first and you second. And I say that even about professional advisors that care about their clients deeply. They did not get into business to do charity work. Invest your money in yourself and your business, then if you have lots of money to lose after already preparing for your retirement, go into some riskier investments.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Start a service-based business. I started a window cleaning business with $50 in tools and a 1969 Dodge Dart, and I did millions of dollars in business before selling at a great price. Window cleaning and pool cleaning companies are easy to start and can make you a lot of money each and every month. Real estate is harder to begin and build, but I like it — it’s service, too! Provide great service, and people will start talking about you.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

This was actually only $17, but I went to lunch with a highly successful content marketer who changed my focus from interruption marketing to service marketing. This marketing solves questions, resolves problems, educates readers, and is non-intrusive.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

QuickBooks is my accounting system and shows reports how I want. Referral Maker is my online customer relationship manager, and I love it because it helps me engage on a more personal level with my clients.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The ONE Thing” by Gary Keller will help you narrow your focus in your business and personal life. It is an extremely important read to someone who wants to be the most productive with his or her time.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Gary Keller, David Meerman Scott, and Robert Kiyosaki.

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