We had originally planned to meet with American Entrepreneur Greg Eckler on a Monday in early April, but his wife, Kelley, was due their first child. On that Wednesday, the Ecklers invited us to the hospital just before they took their new baby home. Trent suggested that the hospital might be an appropriate a location for a portrait, as the joy of a new baby would focus both Greg's life and business.
A steady stream of new parents walked past us, as we sat down with Greg on chairs near an elevator going up to the maternity floor. Greg candidly spoke to us about one of the most important components of our lives, how to provide for the needs of those closest to us.
Greg Eckler, American Entrepreneur and Certified Residential Specialist with Affinity Group,
holding his first born son Samuel Randolph Eckler born April 6 7:36p.m. 7 lbs, 8 oz.
Greg works a real estate agent and broker in Denver, Colorado. Right now he maintains a focus squarely on the information his clients need and avoids the doom and gloom of the national media. He told us that the negative reports of the industry are not always accurate. When asked how the economy was affecting his real estate business, he said, “Right now our biggest problem is that the news comes from LA, New York and Washington, the places that saw crazy booms when we saw nothing. We’ve been riding it out this whole time and now we are suffering because of the loan problem, and that’s national. But we cycle with the coasts. When they're bad were good and when they’re good we’re bad. Know that Denver is not LA or DC. There shouldn’t be panic here.”
The first thing Greg taught us is that a great system and accurate information will lead to success in any economy. Greg was also very focused on creating superior customer service for his clients. Greg created an accurate referral service system for his real estate business that benefits both the agents he partners with, and the customers he serves. His website generates over 300 leads a month and he and his partners, work to convert these leads into buyers and sellers. This referral system matches the lead to the person who is best suited to serve their specific needs.
Over the course of our conversation with Greg, it became apparent that it is more important for him to be there for his family, than it is to be successful in his business. This is the inspiration and reason for his success. Greg's road to becoming an entrepreneur should be familiar.
“I started off with the industrial mentality: go to school, get a job, retire, you’re happy. Life is all figured out. But it wasn’t working," said Greg in describing his journey. "I just wasn’t fitting in. I was in IT for a while; I was a programmer for IBM, a consultant. I just never liked it. Personally, I tolerated it, I made good money but it was the handcuffs of the corporate world.”
His reasons for leaving a secure corporate job said a lot about him as a father and the life that he wanted for his son. Greg said, “ I don't want my kid to think Office Space [the movie] and Dilbert are funny. Because they’re hysterical to me and I hate that.”
Like all successful business owners, he knows he cannot do it by himself. For Greg, it is Kelley who is his main supporter. He said, “The pivotal decision was Kelley telling me to quit. I needed that support. Having someone else believing me more than I do.”
Having a child can restructure one’s priorities. How can we find balance with the needs of our clients, employees and the needs of our family? This is a challenge for entrepreneurs.
Greg's answer was simple and in words that I think we can all understand. He said, “I’m not a role model but I’m an example that you can do it. I am a real person and not some infomercial. You can do this as long as you’re not in suburban prison. People pay too much for their house and then they’re stuck working for the man. Our house is fine. We have an extra room we can finish and I could be here forever. We can go on vacations and we don’t have to compete with the Jones's. The Jones's are the one who can’t afford anything because they spend too much.”
Newborn Samuel Randolph Eckler, in his father's arms.
Samuel Randolph Eckler, getting a kiss from his mother, Kelley.
An Intimate Portrait of the American Entrepreneur Project is sponsored in part by the automated marketing gurus at Infusionsoft
and is championed by the spirited zeal of The Toilet Paper Entreprenuer and TPEs across the universe.