Nathan Zale was born in the suburbs of Chicago and attended Illinois State University. Following graduation, he worked as a real estate agent and then later for a real estate development company where he gained valuable industry experience. With a passion for entrepreneurship, Nathan made the decision to start his own business venture. In 2018, he founded Zale Media – a company focused on providing innovative marketing solutions for real estate professionals. Through award-winning software and a full-service marketing system, Nathan and his team of experts provide comprehensive solutions for businesses of all sizes.
Nathan currently lives in Miami, Florida, and volunteers at animal shelters in his spare time. In addition to his volunteer work, he also fosters animals. His hobbies include jet skiing, swimming, and enjoying nature with his dog.
Where did the idea for Zale Media come from?
We wanted to help connect real estate professionals to buyers and sellers. Our award winning marketing software helps professionals scale their network and reduce their overall costs and time of sales. Because our clients own the system they do not need to pay a monthly retainer.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up, brush my teeth and all that, check my phone, and take my dog for a walk. While I’m walking the dog, I do morning check-in calls with my team. After that, I take the dog to the park and do a little bit of work. Once I get back home, I’ll do some Zoom meetings, then take a break for lunch and keep working. In the evening, I work out and take the dog on a two-hour walk. During that time, I talk to everyone on the team and the team leaders to get end of day reports, decide what we want to happen for the next week, and get a plan together for the next day to get the needle moving.
How do you bring ideas to life?
With my team, I use messaging apps like Slack and Voxer. If I have an idea while I’m doing something else, I can send a message to my leaders, and they’ll message me the next day or we can talk about it a little bit right then. From there, we start to collaborate and get other opinions to figure out who we need to talk to and what we need to do to make it work.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The mortgage industry and the real estate industry are always changing. We learned that in 2008 with the housing crash. Now with inflation going on, the rates are shooting up. It’s exciting for me because it means I have to keep innovating. The market and the technology are always shifting, so I have to be on my A-game every day to keep up. I have to be able to constantly come up with new ideas and bring new things to the market for my customers.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The ability to stay up late at night makes me productive. I think my brain works well at night and that’s when I get most of my inspiration. In the daytime, I work in the business. At night, when everything is closed, I work on the business and write down the ideas that I have.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself not to worry about the little things because everything will work out the way it’s going to work out. Even if it’s a big deal, there’s a silver lining. I would also tell myself that there are no failures in life, only lessons to be learned. And hold on to the drive that made me want to be an entrepreneur.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Take the risk and start your own business. A lot of my friends think it’s too risky, but I think that you either control your life or let life control you.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Check end of day reports and keep track of everything. Check in with people and make sure they have a good mindset. If they don’t, see what you can do to help them improve it.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing has really helped my business to scale. A lot of people charge an arm and a leg, but we give fair market value prices for what we do.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
During COVID, we lost almost all our customers. We found out that because there was so much uncertainty, people didn’t really want to commit to contracts or anything. We decided to drop the contract. We let people sign up and buy the software, then if they didn’t like it, they could just stop using it. Basically, we listened to what people wanted and gave them a way to minimize their risk as customers because that’s something that I would want as a consumer.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Airbnb arbitrage. Rent a one-bedroom apartment, make sure to ask the owner and get legal rights to use it as an Airbnb, and if they agree, put it up on the website. Charge $300 and then you end up making $5000 a month from short term leases for an apartment that you pay $2000 a month for.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I pay someone $100 to clean my apartment and it takes her about 4 hours, so that’s $25 an hour. I calculate everything, so if there’s a task to be done like laundry or cooking, I calculate how much it would be per hour. If I make more than that, then I outsource it. While my apartment is being cleaned at $25 an hour, I’m able to work and make more than that which offsets the time it would have taken me to clean myself.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Monday.com is a great tool to keep my team organized to make sure they’re doing the things they need to do. Freshdesk is also really important for a ticketing system and keeping everything nice and organized. The customers are able to submit their ticket on Freshdesk and my team can go in and provide the support that’s needed.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter.
What is your favorite quote?
I’m a big Star Wars fan, so my favorite quote is from Yoda. ‘Do or do not, there is no try’.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.