Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Raya Virji, a full-time realtor based in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm a realtor who specializes in helping downsizers eliminate the stress of selling so that they can downsize with ease. I help families transition with my Downsizing 101 Guide. It's smooth, easy, and non-complicated.
Tell us about yourself
I come from a world of entrepreneurs which started with my dad building a home business and now with my sister and I owning our own businesses separately. Growing up, we would see my dad work a full-time job and also hustle in his own business, so I've seen and been part of the "entrepreneur's life" since I was a child. I would go on drives with him to drop off his products, package and ship out boxes throughout North America, fill orders that came through on his website, watch him source materials from China, and go to the airport to deal with the customs agents. He had his own e-commerce website long before companies like Shopify came into existence. It was a business I saw built from the ground up for our family that taught me invaluable lessons.
Fast forward to my own career. I started in real estate when I was 21—working full time at a bank and busting my ass off in the evenings/weekends to create the entrepreneurial lifestyle that I wanted to create for myself. A few short years later, I was able to leave my bank job and continue down the path of that entrepreneurial life. I successfully grew my client list year after year and now have a team that works with me to implement our winning strategies for my seller and buyer clients. From marketing to social media to client relationships - it requires a lot of drive to build your dream business.
There's no doubt that my motivation and drive come directly from my clients. Watching them transition from one stage of their lives to another and being able to help them through that transition with ease is what drives me to continue. Selling and buying a home can be a 3-6 month journey. There are years of memories stored in their homes, and it's not an easy transition for a lot of people. Hearing how happy they are with how smooth the transition went is what drives me to do this every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment would be being featured on an episode of Income Property with Scott Mcgillivray. He's an HGTV superstar, and I was the featured realtor on an episode that aired in Canada & the U.S.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The entrepreneur world is definitely not an easy path. It takes determination, grit, courage, discipline, and a whole list of other life lessons along the way. Most of all though, you need a growth mindset. A growth mindset will set you apart from being a successful or unsuccessful business owner.
I find this to be the hardest challenge amongst business owners because it's something that continually needs to be worked on. It's also challenging because it's not something that humans can naturally see, so we don't think of it often. It takes self-awareness to work on your mindset, and this isn't something that most people are taught when starting a business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Mindset - There are basically two types of mindsets. Fixed and Growth.
A growth mindset will set you up for success like no other. The more you push yourself, the more you'll realize what you're capable of. Don't give up, and don't get caught in a fixed mindset.
- Social Media - It's the new era of marketing. In the past, business owners would use newspapers/TV ads to build trust and reach their audiences, and now it's at their fingertips with social media. Jump in and bring value to people. Taking this leap is part of the growth mindset, and you need to have the mentality that you can learn whatever you need for success.
- Accountability - If you're not accountable, then no one will trust you, and eventually, this will kill your business. It's important to be trustworthy when building your business. You are the face of your business. If you're not good at holding yourself accountable, then find someone who will.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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