TJ McLelland's Founder Story


What's up, everybody? Welcome to the Fitness Realty Channel. My name is TJ McLelland, and I'm the broker. I'm super excited to share all the things we have planned with you, so sit back, strap in, and let's have some fun! What in the heck are fitness and real estate even doing in the same title? This makes no sense to explain that we need to go way back!


A long time ago, I was active duty Air Force, and I was fixing F15 E aircraft - the Strike eagle, one of the most versatile aircraft out there, arguably one of the safest, strategic, and most effective still in use today. While I was deployed a bunch of times to Afghanistan, I learned that I loved to work out. Well, there wasn't much to do in Afghanistan except hit the BX and waste money on stuff you didn't need or hang out at the green bean.


So when I wasn't doing that, I was working out in the gym well and answering our nation's call, that is. Anyway, I was working out and loving it. One day when I was at home station in Seymour Johnson, North Carolina, shout out to everybody there. I was out working on the jet, and my DOC chief, Rob, would called me into the office and told me that I had a personality for real estate and a face for radio. Just kidding about the second part!


He was an awesome guy and convinced me to get a license. I also had outside influence from my mom, Kerry McClelland, who has made an exceptional career out of real estate along the watch front since 1992. She is a legend. More to say about her for sure, but I will say that for later. Rob showed me the ropes, but I didn't quite close anything for a long while. Real estate is just hard. Tons to learn and tons of people to network with, and I was busy keeping sweet iron flying in the air and maintaining sweet airpower to worry about getting my real estate career off the ground.


I finally got an instructor position on the base. An old boy, I was happy about that. The hours were excellent, and I got to see my family more; and I stopped deploying so I could have some continuity and started selling homes. At one point, I had started closing more deals than some of our full-time agents in that office, and my broker kept asking me to come to sales meetings. I couldn't just up and leave the base for sales meetings. The government still owned me. Needless to say, that broker and I never really got along.


There were too many in House rules with nothing that enhanced our careers or helped our clients. That broker actually gave me many things I would never do as a broker today, which is a topic for another day. Good things always come to an end, sadly, but that is when new opportunities open up. I was sitting in our weekly Friday meeting, and our boss read out a ton of names, my name included, of people that the Air Force was looking to separate.


Well, I was stoked. I knew this was my chance to do something different after deliberating with my sweet bride, who wanted to come home to Salt Lake anyway, didn't take much to convince her. She said yes almost immediately. And chatting with my mom about the future of doing real estate and joining forces with her, they looked brighter and brighter every day. That transition was slow, but we finally made it to Salt Lake, my home sweet home. Now getting started again in Utah proved more challenging than I thought.


The division of real estate here didn't accept any of my past deals or training, so I had to start over completely. The school was longer here, so after studying and passing the test on my first try. I was licensed again. I felt amazing. I felt like I was ready to accomplish something and another disappointing blow. This Utah market is saturated with Realtors. Every person in their dog has a family member that is a realtor. It was insane. It still is insane. It took six months to get my first deal put together, and it was a $14,000 mobile home. I was rolling in dough. Just kidding, I thought, what did I give up to come and do this?


Luckily it never got me down, and I never looked back with regret because I knew this was what I wanted to do. I bounced between odds and end jobs so I could keep the lights on at home and sold a couple of homes here and there. But I ended up landing a sweet job at the Air National Guard. As a crew chief in Phase, I had one of the most amazing bosses there. His name is Kenny. Kenya, he really encouraged me to chase my passion but also to live a little. We ate good food, we worked, we lived, we laughed, and we watched 17 minutes of Doctor Phil or Ellen at the end of each shift. Man, it was good times!


This job really allowed me to launch my real estate career into OverDrive. Alright, we are now back to talking about my sweet mother, the legend, the guru, the maker of wise choices. She and I knew our goal was to open up a brokerage firm and control how our company made choices, how we would grow, what principles would stick with us, and mainly have more fun bringing back integrity and clients' needs first. While we began to have this idea about our passions, real estate and helping our clients succeed with some of the biggest and scariest transactions of their lives and working out and the passion for fitness.


So we decided, how can we match these together? And at first, it was literally matched together because at first, it kind of felt like oil and water. Even the name, when we were first saying it out loud, it sounded funny. So we were asked, is this a 100-year name? Will it survive 100 years? At first, it sounded so silly we didn't know, but as we said it more and more, it started to really grow on us. There was even this really funny time before we launched when we still had the name kind of hushed.


I was chatting with one of our new agents and one of our now top performers, but at the time, we were talking about the name, and he blurted it out in front of a bunch of other people, and then he tried to backtrack by saying he was going to fitness something into his mouth, something like that. It was super funny, and shortly after that, we launched, so we didn't have to hide it anymore. We just died laughing after that moment, though, so the idea of Fitness Reality was truly born out of chasing passions. We wanted to encourage people to become the strongest version of themselves.


Fitness Reality had the groundwork laid out in 2014, adding the name to the corporation's registry and laying the foundation for the principles that would become the core of the company. We have now had three main things that set us apart from every company out there as it stands for agents. We have a company profit-sharing program which I love. We have a progressive Commission split structure which keeps a lot of agents here, and we have a very robust training program that helps young people and new agents get their careers off the ground.


And bonus, we have access to Leeds, one super incentive though for clients and how we tie in becoming the strongest version of yourself. We encourage clients to commit to doing something better for them. And that could be drinking water, walking more, running a 5K, praying more, journaling, or one of my personal favorites is running a Spartan race. It could be literally anything. And when they commit to that, they get a rebate or a discount on Commission, saving them typically thousands of dollars, and they might develop a habit that could change their life.


The main focus, though, for clients has always been putting your needs ahead of our own speed to respond to you and access for you to ask any question at any time. I feel like that last one is the most significant benefit, though, because when I give you my cell phone number and tell you that during your transaction or at any time when you're lying awake at night with a question. Just send it to me, and then you can go to sleep. After all, sometimes you'll get an immediate response from me 'cause I'll probably be awake or I'll. We'll get to it in the morning ASAP. That connection is how we have grown to the size we have today, and that personal connection, that is something that no one else has.


Speaking of that size now, we started with my mom and me in February of 2018. Then we continued to grow and acquire new talent. But during my teaching career in the Air Force, I loved it. So I started loving the broker position because teaching new agents was happening around me all the time. In terms of the company size, we now have 27 licensed agents on our staff as of February 2022, and they are all over Utah, from Saint George to Logan. So we have grown immensely in just four short years.


Our coverage is the entire great state of Utah, and we can help any client in residential and commercial transactions. We offer tons of incentives to clients. We have gifts. We do client appreciation events. We host booths at the FIT con and the State Fair. We are sponsoring physically fit activities, and we are even donating to the Dirt Foundation for Type one diabetes research. We have been afforded so much opportunity, and so now we are aiming to give back as much as possible to help enhance more lives around us.


Moving into the company's future, it is burning brighter every day. And that is directly attributed to the fantastic staff and team we have and clients that entrust us with their largest transactions each and every day. They are encouraging others to become the strongest version of themselves as they do that in their own lives. It is impressive to see the energy and camaraderie of our team growing together. We have reorganized into a C Corporation, which is crazy. Brought on some excellent business partners and expanded our reach.


Our first branch brokerage will most likely be in Northern Virginia near the Pentagon or in our Wild West backyard into Willa County. It's OK for you non-Utah peeps. If you can't say or spell to Willa, it's a crazy spelling. Regarding sales and fun draw numbers, last year, for the calendar year 2021, our team closed over 70 deals and just shy of 30 million in completed contracts. That is a tremendous amount of success to our clients because during that time of the market rushing up, I ran a small calculation for the buyers that bought at the first of the year and they're still holding their property, and it tallied close to $8 million in equity that our clients now had at their fingertips.


We are helping people all around us become more and more wealthy through real estate, and that is what gets me out of bed in the morning. Booyah! The company has started to acquire cash-flowing assets under its own name, and that parts super exciting. We are paying our business partners a monthly dividend, and one day that will be life-sustaining and life-changing.


So much love for those around me. And I am super excited to share it and build it. I am completely passionate about enhancing others' lives and lifting them, if you couldn't tell. I believe that timing is everything, and I learned that from my sweet mother but on top of that, rising tides lift all boats. We are living in times of abundance, and we can share that and grow together. I love you all, and I hope to share that. And that's a wrap. Thank you so much for supporting us. We'll see you next time and will love ya later!


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