Inspirational Women: Jenni Ortega the Power House
Updated: Oct 1, 2019
Today you will get to know the story of Jenni Ortega the woman, the mother, the wife and the head of Jenni Ortega Realty Group, Real Living Realty Professionals. She was born in Brooklyn, NY and then moved to Springfield, MA when she was 8 with her mother and her sibling. Getting the hustle mentality from her mother, who used to work hard as a single and protective mother. She became a teenage mother, with only eighteen years of age her son Aiden came to the world. At the time she thought her dreams crashed, but in reality only a little bit more of time was needed. Let’s explore her testimony together:
1. How do you manage the family/business life? Is it a difficult thing to have the much desired balance?
It took me an incredible long time to figure it out. Especially when you first start entrepreneurship, the business is your baby. How do I cater to my baby who needs feeding, nurturing, and help because you have to continue to pour so much of your time, money and resources into the business. The way I can describe it is like having triplets or something, it’s like everybody needs help, love, nurturing and attention. I managed it incredibly poor when I first started off, I was very invested into the business and I would not come home until 12am, 1am, 2am; and I rely heavily on my husband to be there for Aiden my son. We were finding that was not working out, although Shannon is an amazing father, Aiden has two parents. So Shannon started to say to me: Aiden misses you. It was difficult; I think a lot of mother-entrepreneurs can relate to this, that when you are rocking it in the business world, your family somehow gets affected. You wonder, how do I do it all? Two things I’ve learned along the way, first was my schedule. How to time-block things in a way that I am prioritizing my family and then business is around that time. If you look at my calendar now, it’s amazing. Everything is time-blocked and with a color code. Aiden’s color is yellow, so those things come first and that is a something that I train my team to do too. Because I don’t want them to ever find themselves in a situation where they are hurting their families, or not seeing their families because the pressure of work is so much. This is a very demanding field. However, when you put your family first, when you prioritize, even your me time in your time-block it works. It took me a lot. The second thing I’ve learned is delegating. I think a lot of us can be kind of controlling when it comes to our business. Successful business owners want to control and know what’s going on every day in their business. I had to learn how to let go of certain things and I found out I was getting more help as I asked for it (I grew up very independent). But I had to learn that the right thing is to ask for help and your family and friends would definitely help when you express you feel like you are drowning because of the pressure of business and family commitments.
2. How and where was born the desire to become a realtor/to have your own company?
Since I was seventeen, I already knew that I wanted to become a real estate agent. By watching the Egypt Sherrod Property Virgins in HGTV I got inspired and started having an artistic appreciation and vision of spaces. I started studying the market at seventeen, but I needed to put it on hold when I became pregnant and the market crashed as well. Fast forward to 2015, my son Aiden was already seven years old and while I was working in the Medical Billing Field, I took the time to train myself and took the test to become a realtor. Passing the test on a Saturday and beginning a realtor position on that following Monday. A lot of pressure helped me succeed. While the beginnings of my career as an agent were not easy at all, exhausting all of the savings we owned as a family, having cars reposed, not having even money to buy Christmas gifts for our son; it was definitely the hardest financial time of my life in 2016. But 2017 arrived and the jump into real estate as a serious business owner happened. I was able to recover what was lost and I started doing better. In 2018 all the learning processes started to pay off. I was rising as an entrepreneur by hard work and perseverance. A team started to be built the following year and today Jenni Ortega Realty Group consists of me, Javelin my assistant, John, Jessica and the latest addition Geoff. My actual office is located on 2040 Boston Rd., Wilbraham, MA 01095. Our sales year to date are around 9.5 million dollars, the success is tangible now although it has cost tears and lots of long nights of work.
3. Do you consider the real state a field dominated by men or women? How did you use that to your advantage?
In this field there are actually plenty of women. When you think of real estate, the persona that comes to your mind it is usually this older lady with many years of experience and doing this for her whole life. Men are here too, but there are a lot of boss ladies within the field. What makes me sad is that not all of them are the most gracious when they see another women coming up. There has been jealously, envy, people trying to bring you down and I hate that this is from other women. On the flip side, I would say that I have encountered some amazing women who have been doing this forever and they tell me: you’re doing great Jenni! I’m like, thank you, it means a lot. They will complement me in the success we have gotten thus far. I personally wish that was “the thing”, the women empowerment, even though I see it, I wish I can see it more. I’m just very the “you go girl” type of woman. I don’t care if you started last year, or if you are outperforming me, I don’t care what it is. If you are doing something right, that deserves a congratulations. It is hurtful when you don’t receive that, and instead you receive haters that are women. All and all, it makes me very proud that most of the people who are killing it in the real state field are women. I don’t use so much the fact that I am a woman, but the skills that I have developed. A lot of them a gift from God because most of those skills were even developed before I became a real estate agent. That is what really set me apart. It makes the clients very comfortable with me; I am a passionate and compassionate person and that aligns perfectly for this job. It should be an agent that cares for their clients and not about the dollar sign after the commission. An agent should actually care about the people and where they will go. I am a woman but a woman with compassion to help people get where they need to be.
4. When it comes to business, what would be your advice to women who are looking to undertake business path?
For women who are looking to become entrepreneurs, I will definitely advice you to get a mentor. I don’t know of anybody successful that has not had someone that they can go to ask questions and be open with. It’s really all about that support system and if you don’t have one, find one and pay for one. Even if it is a life coach its important because first time entrepreneurship is difficult and the money is not pouring in right away. To have a mentor who has been in it, who has done it and who has done it successfully can help you grow cash flow for your business. You also want to partner up and create collaborations with people who can affect your field some way or another, you want to be a part of a network. Meet with someone who does not do what you do specifically, but someone who touches your profession in a way. It will always come back to you as a referral and you create awesome relationships where you help each other. Definitely make sure you are building effective relationships with other people and business owners. Lastly, but not less important, be yourself. When it comes to image, you already have media telling you who you must be or behave. But don’t change yourself to make other people comfortable on how you should be present, instead be as true to yourself as possible. People will admire that, even if it’s not right away people will appreciate your authenticity. People can smell funny from a mile away, be sure to show who you truly are and don’t try to cover it up.
5. Tell us a little bit about your future projects.
I already have a plan for the next five years. I wrote my vision and I really want this team to grow exponentially in different divisions, not only sales which is what we have right now. Real estate is so beautiful, because there is so much more to do. In the next few years I want to start working on fixing flips. Also, to include rental, because the economy goes up and down, but everybody needs to live somewhere. So we want to be the team that provides everything, if you need a house we have a house, but if you need a rental we have it too. Property management as well. Lastly, we want to enter commercial real estate. Even though it sounds like a lot, we want to learn, perfect it, master our craft and then have all our divisions together. The divisions will have their managers, respective personal assistants. John will be training others as our sales manager. When that time comes, I’ll just be occupying the CEO position, overseeing the team and offering mentorship. I don’t want to keep all that I know to myself, but to pass it forward. With my current assistant hopefully as the executive assistant. At that point I see myself financially independent, free. There is a phrase that I learned early on, “don’t work for your money, but let your money work for you”. You are working smarter, but not harder. That is my goal to have everything running smoothly. But at the same time, I want the company to grow and still feel like a family, not to grow into something that feels cold. I want this team to feel and prioritize family first and then your business.
I hope Jenni's story is one that brings you hope, inspiration and strategy. Hard works pays off when things are done with excellence and a passionate/driven heart. Whenever you set a goal, work hard and make it happen, the rewards will be inevitable!