Less than six degrees – Starting at the beginning

Las Vegas to New YorkHere’s how to follow this blog easily. “Next time” is always hyperlinked (any word in orange) at the end of each article to the next article once the new article has been posted. “Previously” will take you back to the previous post. Make sure to click on each person’s name when they’re mentioned and see if they are a possible connection for you. I’d be happy to make the introduction.

Day one, page one.  I guess I could have chosen to write a book instead of starting a blog.  Who knows, maybe this will turn into a book someday.  After all, the movie needs to be based on something, right?

I want to manage your expectations from the beginning, this is not a series of articles about finding office space in NYC.  Yes, I will occasionally write stories that are informative regarding the business of leasing, but that’s not my focus here.

The stories I share are to inform, inspire, educate, entertain and if I’m lucky, enlighten you.

Ultimately, this isn’t about me – this is all about you.  I will use the observations I make and the people I meet as the conduit of my message, but don’t forget my intent – I am empowering you to succeed in one or more aspects of your life – using myself as an example.

So what is my goal?  To show you how to connect with others genuinely and the power that putting these connections together has – in business and your personal life.

I ask you one favor from the start.  Please allow me the flexibility to make grammatical, punctuation and syntax errors (although not spelling, that’s unforgivable.)  If I can write as I think, I can share so much more with you, instead of hiring a proofreader to perfect the wording.

With the preface out of the way, let’s begin…

I arrived in New York City on April 7, 2013 after 13 years in Las Vegas.  Although I was born and raised in New York, when I came back it was a different world and I was starting from scratch.

Let’s stop here for a second and I’ll fill in the blanks for the questions I’m always asked.  “Why did I leave NYC to go to Las Vegas?”  “What was it like to live in Las Vegas?” and “What brought me back?”

Why did I leave?  Family and opportunity.

What was it like to live in Las Vegas?  It’s like living on Long Island except everything is brand new and your money is worth a lot more than in NY.

What brought me back?  Family, timing and dumb luck.

Although I say “I” and “me” – it’s actually us.  There’s my wife, Shelley, and our very old dog (she’s 15½), Sophie, a Wire Fox Terrier.  No kids.

I have close family in Vegas and they compelled us to come out and I loved every minute of it.  I, not we.  Shelley wanted to go back within about five minutes of arriving.  It was 13 years of “Let’s go home.”

The best thing about Las Vegas is that I discovered that a career in real estate was my calling.  I started 11 years ago in residential, selling condos and homes and managing a team of agents called The Karten Group (catchy, huh?)

For the last five years there, I specialized in short sales, representing distressed homeowners and negotiating on their behalf to have the bank forgive their being upside down on their mortgage, so they could move on with their lives.

Let’s face it, short sales are a downer.  Nobody is excited to sell their home and walk away with no money in their pocket.  This made it very hard to find new sellers, except by word of mouth regarding my successful track record.

One day, I came up with an idea to use social media to spread the word and differentiate myself from other agents.  My selling point?  Compassion.  I care about my client’s well-being and a successful outcome more than anything else.

What was my idea?  To make a video that was silly and clever, that people would watch and hopefully forward to other people to entertain them and maybe, compel them to call me.

The storyline involved my wife and she agreed to participate.  We filmed it and uploaded it on YouTube.  I promoted it on Twitter, Facebook, different user groups for short sales and mortgage companies and something crazy happened… it went viral.

Within two months, we had over 1 million views!  So this went from a silly idea that a handful of local people saw to something much bigger.

If you haven’t seen it yet, click HERE to watch.

By now you should be asking, “What does this have to do with moving back to New York?”  Absolutely everything.

In the days and months ahead, I’m going to show you what I’ve accomplished in the past year and how I continue to build on this success daily.  The great news is – you can, too – and you’re probably ahead of me with opportunities you haven’t explored yet.

Until next time

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Mark Karten is a connector in New York City.  If you’re ready to expand your network of meaningful, relevant relationships, contact Mark at mark@jpday.com.

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