Pam Blair, Principal Broker and Founder of YogaBug Real Estate is joining us for a conversation around Starting A Brokerage! She will be telling the story of what inspired her to start her own brokerage, how she has woven her passions into her brand, and how the journey has been. Pam will also be sharing her wisdom and advice for those who are new to this path or starting to think about opening their own brokerage!
Pam is the Broker/Founder of YogaBug Real Estate, a boutique brokerage in Portland, OR.
Since 2004, Pam has been weaving together her East coast drive with a West coast vibe creating a real estate culture grounded in authenticity, straight-forwardness, expertise and intuition. After years of serving Portland's yoga community through real estate as well as teaching yoga, Pam took the plunge and branded herself as YogaBug Real Estate in 2011. In 2019, she took it to the next step opening her own brokerage and moving her YogaBug office into a delightful vintage Shasta Airflyte trailer (the cutest real estate office in the country.)
Pam approaches the real estate transaction from a holistic viewpoint in which the mind, body and spirit of her clients bear equal weight. She is an active participant in her real estate community holding positions on local committees, supports her yoga community through sponsoring non-profits and teaching and finds great joy in raising money for local dog shelters yearly through her Portland Dog Boneanza event.
When not with a client or on her mat, you will find Pam hiking mountains, surfing, gardening and creating in the kitchen and art studio with her husband and two dogs in tow.
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What inspired you to go out on your own?
I had envisioned YogaBug as an independent brokerage for years. I literally had the blueprint of the YogaBug office inside and out in my imagination down to the ladybug bike rack on the sidewalk. I had visions of a community space where real estate was transacted. Yet I know myself. Sometimes I need to completely live out my visions and other times they play themselves out in my imagination and the outer form never needs to manifest. So I was patient….
In the meantime, I developed my YogaBug brand continuously and loved doing it. Regardless of my success as an agent and the flourishing of my brand, I felt an invisible ceiling and couldn’t quite identify what it was.
In 2019, when WomanUp! Invited me to speak on “Authenticity: Owning Your Brand”, I knew that I needed to show up as YogaBug in its entirety. It couldn’t be YogaBug Real Estate at Meadows Group. It needed to be YogaBug Real Estate LLC. In the 12 days after accepting the invitation to speak, I opened my own brokerage.
All the years of internally creating made the transition incredibly intense but smooth. I researched leasing that space I had envisioned for my new office and followed my gut not to do so. This proved to be a fortuitous move given COVID was around the corner. Instead one of my clients whom I was helping to sell her home was selling her Shasta Airflyte trailer and I awoke one morning seeing it in my driveway. It was to become my new YogaBug Office. It came together in a magical way. The invisible ceiling evaporated and I suddenly became aware of the stress I had experienced as a result of not fully actualizing my vision.
One of the main reasons I wanted to start my own brokerage was because I wanted to be significantly more intentional about my business. I wanted to be proactive and intentional about who I related with … about my client base….about my branding and marketing and on and on….even though I knew it would mean more work. That has been a huge blessing..
The other reason I wanted to open my own brokerage was I saw real estate changing rapidly. I had a sense that I needed to become more adaptable, nimble, lean, sustainable…. Going out on my own has allowed me to cut the fat, live lighter and thrive.
How has the journey been? What are you up to now?
My journey has been incredible- beyond my imagination. I have never looked back, had a single doubt or regret. Little did I know that only 6 months after opening my brokerage that the world would shut down due to COVID-19. My matrix to be more intentional/proactive about my business blossomed during COVID-19 because I was isolated (and lonely at times) and was forced to go in to an even greater extent to find the answers to EVERYTHING. I had no colleagues, no Principal Broker….. Just me.
In the past year and a half, I have reassessed how I do business, why I do business, how I create business and debunked myths that were holding me back for years. Many of my usual lead generating activities involved events and teaching yoga. Those almost completely evaporated during COVD. As I watched my colleagues do wonderful ZOOM events and start interesting PodCasts, I stayed true to my gut and went old-fashion. I went back to the basics of reaching out to my clients via phone and dropping off presents. I began reaching out to them weekly despite my fear that they might get sick of hearing from me with weekly market updates from my hikes. I began to focus on a consistent, genuine present on social media platforms. My business has exponentially expanded. Patience has paid off thus far. I am a much more skilled, confident broker today.
What do you wish you knew when you started your brokerage?
I wish I knew that you can do it completely YOUR way. As soon as I opened my brokerage, people started asking me if I was hiring. They asked me if I would open a storefront…. I knew that all of this could perhaps someday be part of YogaBug or perhaps not and I felt comfortable with that. My goal was to create an environment that fostered growth, creativity, joy and abundance for myself and my clients. YogaBug doesn’t look anything like any other brokerage that I am aware of yet it is thriving. Part of the beauty of real estate is the opportunity for diversity. Life is a lot more interesting when we all do our own thing.
What has been your favorite “owning a brokerage” lesson so far?
When I live authentically and create space from that people come and they flourish. People want to work with authentic people. Before COVID, I had the amazing opportunity to invite my clients into my “office.” When they stepped into my Shasta trailer, their eyes were as wide as a childs and they smiled from ear to ear. All of the defenses that can be experienced when in a corporate office, fell away as I served them tea and they looked around. I was humbled by how raw, vulnerable and present people were with me in my trailer/office. I am looking forward to creating more of that for my clients once we can share physical space again.
What’s next for you?
Expansion. I can feel it coming but just am not sure what it will look like. I have my eye on a certain newer agent who was a yoga student of mine. I think she might be the next part of my team.
I am beginning to plan events again including a yoga retreat later this year. I feel like this past year and a half has stripped me down to what is more essential and when I show up again in a more public way it will be different. More present…. wiser.
I also am enjoying stepping into more leadership roles locally in my industry. I am ready to mature into that space.
Before we go… Do you have any final advice you’d like to share?
Surround yourself with people and things that inspire, support and challenge you. Nothing about being a leader is convenient or easy at first so we need to cultivate the best within ourselves by surrounding ourselves with the energy and opportunities that bring out the best in us.
Each week I drive 2-4 hours to be with a mountain. Once I reach the trailhead, I hike 3-8 hours often in vigorous terrain to spend time with the mountain. It takes commitment to reach the top and enjoy Her view. My spiritual teacher has always said that “Anything of real value is only as valuable as it is difficult.”.
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