Since the dawn of Instagram (or really YouTube), powerful voices have emerged online in every industry. From fitness to business, food to finance, the reach that comes along with a loyal following has showed the true power of social media.
But it’s not just companies that have invested in building their presence on the Internet. It’s everyday people, all the way up to industry experts, who have seen the value in building a “personal brand.”
As more and more people have started investing time, energy, and resources in amplifying their online presence, we’ve seen age-old industries be completely disrupted by entrepreneurs that have a knack for engaging audience members. These influencers are no longer just entertainers and vloggers. These are business people who know that by sharing their story and unique perspective, they can capture the attention of their market.
One great example is Albert “The Mortgage Guy” Preciado.
Having originated more than $1 billion in residential loans, and closed more than 2,400 real estate deals since 2005, Albert has continued to stand out in his industry by constantly reinvesting in his own personal brand.
But he wasn’t always at the top. In fact, Albert had humble beginnings. And it was only through strategic moves on the chessboard, and a relentless drive to become successful that he ended up making a name for himself in Los Angeles, California.
Here’s how he did it:
1. Stick with what you love—and what you’re good at.
When Albert first got his start, he was the assistant to a real estate agent. That’s how he learned the basics. But his real passion ended up being in the mortgage business.
“I was more curious about mortgages because it was about numbers and financing, and I had always been good at math. In 2005, I got my license to become a mortgage loan originator, and in my first year and a half made $200,000. The market was booming and everything was great.”
But that’s not where the story ends. In 2008 (as we all know), the market crashed.
“We had the mortgage meltdown, and a lot of people were getting out of the business. My income dropped down to $60,000, which changed my entire lifestyle. My two homes were foreclosed, and my car was repossessed. But while everyone else jumped ship, I stuck with it. I just kept showing up to Starbucks with my laptop and cell phone, determined to figure things out.”
And he did.
“But I was still working for different brokers, so I was employed by different mortgage companies. One day, I finally said, ‘I have to change something in order to take things to the next level and scale.’”
2. Put your flag in the ground and call yourself what you are.
As Albert tells it, “I had always wanted to open up a company. One day, I was lying on the sofa with my girlfriend, who is now my wife, and we were at her parents’ house. Her little sisters, who were thirteen years old, were giggling and walking around the room when they asked me, ‘What are you thinking about, Albert?’ I had this serious look on my face, being really quiet. I was daydreaming about my idea. I said, ‘I’m thinking about opening up a company.’ They asked me, ‘What kind of company?’ I said, ‘A mortgage company. I want to be The Mortgage Guy.’”
Albert went on to explain that while the name did sound kind of catchy, a lot of people in his life told him not to go that direction. Close friends, family, the consensus was that someone in the mortgage businesses needed a professional-sounding company name—because the mortgage industry is serious.
“Sometimes, you just have to go with your gut,” said Albert.
A month later, he filed as a corporation, came up with a logo, and went all in on The Mortgage Guys.
3. Let your personal brand represent how you and your company conduct the work you do.
For most people, getting a mortgage is a stressful process.
You go to the bank. You go inside. You sit in the waiting area for a banker. The banker is giving you “the look,” and most clients end up feeling nervous.
“I always wanted The Mortgage Guys to stand for a different way of doing business. That process shouldn’t feel stressful. Buying a home is what the American Dream is all about. I wanted the process to be fun and exciting. And I communicate a lot of that through my own personal brand,” said Albert.
The way The Mortgage Guys markets isn’t through old-school tactics like mailers and print magazines. Instead, it’s social media and full transparency about how the loan processes work, A to Z.
In addition, Albert shared that he receives at least one deal per day through direct messages on social media. “The mortgage business, just like the insurance business, just sounds boring. Most people in these industries are not using social media because it’s just not what they’re used to. But I’m doing the opposite. I’m implementing the same tactics other massively popular social media influencers are doing, taking their tools and using them to communicate my own ideas and perspectives, applying them to my industry.”
After all, the more people that know who you are and what you do, the more business you’ll get.