I haven't been here in a while so this post is overdue. Same with Facebook and Snapchat - they have sort of fallen off the map. I'm still irritated about Snapchat being overtaken by Instagram. It's a shame when one larger brand monopolizes a space by copying and then forcing other innovators out of the market. Do better, Zuckerberg. That's a huge topic on it's own right. Anyway, I am begrudgingly mostly on Instagram @soniya.tv -- or YouTube at times: www.soniya.tv. Check those out to keep connected!
Anyway, to be honest with the internet, I have been all over the place literally and metaphorically. I haven't been home in Toronto for better part of the year. I've been exploring business, media and LIFE opportunities in Asia so I haven't been as active in real estate in the past couple of years actually. I have worked with a few near and dear clients but haven't been proactive about it because of these new possibilities. Although I'm not writing off real estate for good, I feel it's imperative to try different things and diversify ultimately.
Schooling typically doesn't teach you to think, ironically. I mean out of all things, you'd think critical thinking would be at the forefront of education. Instead, typically the focus of teaching tends to be (from what I'm aware) to listen and do in prescribed ways - and to get a job Even the jobs you're exposed to in school can be limited. In any case, we're then sort of taught by school systems to figure out *one* thing to pursue in life with your limited knowledge and exposure.
I'm grateful I was exposed to business a bit by my parents growing up (even though my parents wanted me to become well-educated and take on some sort of straight-forward career). Long story short, I started pursuing business officially in my second year of university while I was busy working, volunteering and studying - all to figure out my future career. By the time I graduated, my 'career' was up in the air. I could have pursued further schooling or see where business took me. I thought I'd try the latter, put my full efforts in and lo and behold, business boomed!
Things were great. I was 23 and made a name for myself in the business. Then, of course, I hit a major obstacle. I'll save the details for another time but it was a difficult period in my life. It became a turning point for me: I had the option of continuing full force in the same direction OR step back and look at all my options as the adventurous, entrepreneurial young woman I was. The money and the success of that one route didn't excite me enough because I already gotten a taste for it. I could clearly see how far I could go with it and I could vaguely see how challenging it would be to try new things from scratch. What did I choose? The more exciting option of course! The latter. I didn't feel the need to be boxed into one business when in a sense, it would be there anyway. On the other hand, the other avenues which entice me are time and even age-sensitive. For those who know me, I'm fascinated and drawn to so many things. From startups to art to just the art of being human - this is what I've been exploring more over the past few years. I still do real estate but not as full force or as actively right now - who knows, I may in a few years. However in the meantime, I'm sort of running with the wind and that is only possible because of how I set up myself up initially with my real estate investment business.
Quite a few of people have asked me about what I do or how I manage to travel or do this and that and I hope this is a bit of insight. I'd be happy to share more gradually. I would share what I'm up to now but I am not where I want to be yet so I don't it would make sense to elaborate further just yet! :)
Hey you, Happy spring! We’re about a quarter in to 2017 already. How are your resolutions going? I don’t even remember if I made any but I have been staying busy doing things I absolutely love.
I have been really trying to figure out where I want life to take me or where I want to take life over the past little while. Everything has been in place for quite some time now but that’s not enough. It’s not about money or degree papers - I am more concerned about who I am as a person and how I want my day to day to be like. I want to think and live deeply; create lots; for my life to be abundant and to be able to share whatever I have. If you’re expecting me to end this off with some sort of conclusion I've come up with or way to all that, sorry! I’m still working on it.
I went away for 3 weeks in Jan-Feb to travel Europe where I took my parents of all people on an epic road trip. We passed through Switzerland, Italy, Monaco and then a place I have been fantasizing about for years, le sud de France! It was memorable but I am more of a slow, lonesome wanderer who enjoys feeling out each space and sipping every moment to the fullest. I didn’t plan this but afterwards, I ended up in London for a gorgeous wedding and family time. I managed to get a lookbook video in with a couple of lovely local bloggers, Veetha & Miya, as well a vlog with the YouTube sensations Pandyan's House which you can peek at here on Soniya.TV. I have been taking videos for years yet I hardly put anything out - but when I shoot other people, I am obligated to which is great. Editing has gotten a lot less daunting just in terms of the psyche of it all and it certainly has gotten easier to actually do too.
I was supposed to travel to south/east asia this month as well with ma but she changed her mind and that is actually A-OK with me because I prefer to travel when the weather is unbearable here. Asides from the obvious reason that Toronto and surrounding areas are FANTASTIC and totally worth exploring and enjoying as much as possible in the summer (there’s always just so much going on and so much great food) - real estate is in heat in spring/fall, so you don’t want to miss out on the hu$tle, baby! I am not big on travelling for the sunnier 2/3rds of the year - EXCEPT within Canada/US or for short durations in similar climates.
Anyway, all this ties into questions I have been receiving lately from other young peeps, i.e. along the lines of "what do you do and how?” Thinking about this puts a smile on my face because I was a student thinking about how to be free and travel or do whatever I feel, not too long back - i.e. 3-4 years ago. Ah, now I’m all like, has it been that long? I am aging myself here. The freedom to do as you please boils down to financial freedom. So some important questions to chew on are what would that look like for you? and of course, how do you get there?!
I am a real estate broker. I got my license to practice real estate 7 years ago (2010). Getting the license is easy, especially if you’ve taken university courses. The text books are long but not dense. It's more of a joke really or a scheme to take your money if you don't mind a more jaded perspective. Developing the business is the more involved part (as with any business) - but it’s worth mentioning again - this is self-employment - this is a business. You need to approach it as a business and not just as a job because realtors are typically not ‘employees’. It took me quite some time to develop my business. I was juggling university, work along with other things and just unsure of what I was doing overall. However, I had built up some presence online throughout those school years; refined my brand; researched and selected a niche market for me and within a few months of graduating university, business really started to take off. The real estate market has been strong around Greater Toronto but there are over 45,000 agents so you really need to set yourself apart and I sort of did, though I can do so much better and so could you. A lot of people are drawn to the income potential of real estate sales but you do have to prepare yourself for the sales element. You need to market yourself and really put yourself out there. Being tech-savvy can work wonders for you. More than anything else, it’s about work. It’s not about how much money a Realtor can make, it’s about how much work you’re willing to put in to make that money.
I actually went on about being a real estate agent which is also something I get asked about frequently, but I didn’t really get in to what I do or how I am able to travel and do more of what I please. Real estate is my main source of income but that is just one aspect of my life and I am interested in a lot of other things. I believe in hustle but I equally believe in being happy and free. I believe in hard work but I appreciate working smart more (eg. investing, work-life balance). Though it's common wisdom to pick one thing and excel at it, I prefer a holistic? approach to life and I like to at least dip my feet in all my interests. I believe this works out for you in terms of the bigger picture. I would focus on one thing if I could, but I am the type to be insanely obsessed with one thing as if nothing else exists in the world for a day, a week, a month, or in phases - just to be insanely obsessive over something else seemingly random the next moment. I enjoy that and it works for me. In actuality, I have not worked much in the past two years. I set up my business this way. When I do work, I work hard or rather, smart and towards financial freedom. I work 'enough' to not have to be concerned about money for a while so that I am able to pursue other business ideas; to teach myself other things or just to live more artfully, i.e. less robotically. So while I could be focusing on even more real estate sales all the darned time, I make a choice to make time to do things I enjoy. I am conscious of the bigger picture and just living more laissez-faire. You can make that same type of choice/compromise to incorporate more of what you love in the your life regardless of what stage you are at. It definitely does get easier when you're financially free nonetheless.
There are few career options that allow you as much freedom as entrepreneurship. Other careers may provide you with enough income but the schedules may not be as flexible for you to pick up and go as you please or to disappear for a few months. That being said, even as an entrepreneur, it’s not necessarily advisable to just disappear whenever or for however long either but there is a greater chance of you having that option if you wish. To become self-employed and to have a more ' free' lifestyle, there are so many options that most people don’t even realize. You can open an online shop; you can do event planning; you can become a photographer, videographer, make up artist, web developer, investor, painter, stock or mortgage broker; you can do life coaching, IT consulting or other consulting; you could even become a YouTuber! These are just a few more obvious suggestions based off of people I know of but I encourage you to look into all the others as well. Better yet, come up with something new. If you want to add to this list, just comment below with suggestions.
Whatever idea you might have, just try it. Do it. You never know where it will take you. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t take you where you planned. Heck, it's okay if you don't have a plan or can't see a bigger picture yet. Just work on putting together the smaller pieces: start building that brand; an aptitude for business and other relevant skills now. That’s what I am doing at least. Real estate has been amazing but I didn't know it would be and even so, I see it as only a part of the journey. I focus just as much if not more on building other skills to explore other businesses and to do more of what I love. It's on you to a craft a life you love. We live in a time where if you to decide to, you can actually combine what you enjoy doing to do more of what you love. It's remarkable. Work and other priorities in the way? No biggie, you don't have to go all out and quit your job on us. You can develop a skill or two at a time, like learning to shoot/edit videos or how to set up a website or just learning more about stuff that interest you. Each little thing you do will help, I promise.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Hope this was of some use to you. Now get out there and chase your dreams! But wait, if you're STILL there, show some love below or throw out some suggestions about what I should talk about next. If you have any questions, leave them below too (and not as an email/text/DM please!)
PS. To those of you who ask about how to become a real estate agent, there are a couple of videos on my YouTube channel at www.soniya.tv.
Soniya Siva - avid explorer, entrepreneur, creative, YouTuber & TV host. She has been licensed as a real estate broker for 8 years and as Founder of The Condo Tree, she focuses predominately on pre-construction condos or investment properties around Greater Toronto.