Last week was my 30th year anniversary of selling hotels. It is hard to believe because I feel like I should only be 40 years old but when I look in the mirror, there is some old guy looking back at me.
In 1990 I was in the restaurant business and failing miserably. I was working a hundred hours a week and still couldn’t make the business work. I remember like it was yesterday, one day I was driving back home from Columbus Georgia where the restaurants were, and I passed by a real estate school with a sign that said the next class was starting soon. In my mind, I thought, well maybe I can sell a few restaurants to help make the ends meet. So, I parked and went inside and signed up for the class.
I graduated the class and passed the state exam in May 1990, but in order to use your real estate license you must be assigned to a firm in good standing. I had bought the restaurants from a friend of mine who also sold hotels and thought I would get him to add my license to his company and start selling restaurants. I show up the next day at his office and tell him I want to learn how to sell restaurants and he says to me, “I don’t know how to sell restaurants, but I can teach you how to sell hotels.” I thought, well, how hard can it be. Ha
That was the start of the greatest opportunity God could have given me. I was broke and knew nothing about hotels but only that I needed to make something happen financially for my family. That first week I would drive early in the morning to Columbus to check on the stores and then get to the hotel brokerage office by early afternoon. I did that for the first week or so and had no leads, no phone calls and really didn’t know what I was doing. The next week I decided that if I was ever going to learn the business, I had to get out and go see some hotel owners. I got in my Chevrolet Caprice and went down I-75 until I had stopped at 132 hotels. I found the owners in probably half of them and by the time I got back to the office I had some people I could talk to.
I started in May of that year and by the end of 1990, I had closed seven hotel transactions and won the rookie of the year award for the US. After that I never looked back. I made God a promise in May of 1990 and even now when I think about it, it still makes me choke up even today. I promised him that if he would help me succeed, I would always give him the praise for it. I always have, See, I have no formal education and I stutter when I talk so I knew it would take the hand of God for me to make it.
30 years later I sit writing this blog and I can tell you unequivocally that it has been the hand of God on me that allowed my family to get out of the restaurant business and into the hotel brokerage business. I don’t know how many years I have left in the business, but it is as fresh every day as it was all those years ago and I am still amazed that God allowed me to do this as a career. KT