Founders Story off the Cuff

TJ McLelland: 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's up, everybody? I'm so excited to have my sweet mother right next to me talking about Fitness Realty and how we got started. So we are going to kind of talk about what Fitness Realty is, what we do or how we got started. So, it's going to be kind of fun, but I am excited to have her on board. As always, I'm TJ McLelland - the broker of Fitness Realty. And then I'll let my mom introduce herself. Take it away!

Kerry McLelland: Hey everybody, I'm Kerry McLelland, co-owner of Fitness Realty. How about that? Maybe one day I'll be a broker of some sort, but not yet.

TJ McLelland: I always go ahead!

Kerry McLelland: Just experience on my end.

TJ McLelland: I always like to say my mom is the real boss.

Kerry McLelland: And that is not true!

TJ McLelland: It's totally true. Well, I want to kind of do a little rewind way back when for me and kind of my real estate career getting started so that people can kind of see how we got going. And then I'll let you talk about a little bit with how you got going. So way back when I was deployed with the active duty Air Force and went to Afghanistan a few times, loved deploying, had a great time, had a lot of camaraderie with my friends.

One of the things, though, while I was out there, I really started to workout a lot and loved to go to the gym. And I really found this passion for fitness, so it was really was something that I could just hold onto and latch onto in my personal life. I loved how it made me feel. I loved talking about it with other people, and it was just a good time. And so I found that fitness was really a passion of mine, and I love to become stronger.

Let's fast forward a little bit because, during that same time, I had this supervisor of mine that was like, hey, you should come in and come talk to me in the office. And I was like, oh crap, I'm probably in trouble. I was never in trouble. But this is just like, your mind always pops to the negative, you know? And I was like, oh crap, something bad happened. So I went in there, and he was like, hey, you have a great personality, and you should get a real estate license with me and sell homes. And I was like, man, I've never really thought about it, but my mom has been a realtor in Utah for a long time.

And so I really started to think like. Well, maybe I could do this. And so I went and got licensed. Well, I did all the school to get licensed in North Carolina and then never did anything with my license for four or five years, which is kind of stupid but also kind of funny. I just was deploying a lot. The military was very active, and so there was just no way for me to run a real estate career at the same time. And then I had this really stroke of good luck where the military offered me an active duty or a sorry, they offered me an instructor position on the base. So I was going to be teaching maintenance, and so teaching maintenance was a kind of day shift job, had kind of the banker hours that I was looking for, and it really became something that accelerated my real estate career because I could do that on the side.

So I was looking at those sweet hours, started to sell homes, I started to sell more than the full-time agents that were on the staff at the company that I was with. And I was really like, wow, I can do this job, and was pretty excited at that point. And it was kind of entertaining for me to really look at where I was going with real estate and what I thought I wanted. And so, I started to share that with my mom. And then I wonder, alright, if you'll kind of pick up from their mom, like how you got started and then how you kind of or how we got our paths to align at that point.

Kerry McLelland: Well, my start was many, many years ago, but love selling real estate, watched the process. You were going through it with your career and in the military, but always wishing there was a way to bring it back home so I could enjoy you more and then finding out about real estate for you, and knowing your successes and the things going on, I thought how could we team this up. Let's have you come home! And I think you're going to carry on from there.

TJ McLelland: I probably will. I don't know if I'll carry on, but yes, I totally agree that the merger here of just trying to figure out how to do fitness and real estate together, just kind of entertaining. So let's kind of talk about that a little bit with the ideas of merging this together because I feel like at the very first, when we talked about fitness and real estate together, it's such a weird idea and kind of sounded like weird and funny to me.

And so let's talk about that, though while I was selling homes in North Carolina and getting good at it, I was selling more. Then our full-time real estate agent on that staff in North Carolina and really started to rub elbows wrong with my current broker. At that time, she was like, you need to come into sales meetings, and I was like you gross sales meetings with that. Plus, the military still owned me, so there was no way I was going to go to sales meetings. So then I was, in my opinion, I started to share that side with you, and you were like, well, why don't you just come home and sell homes here?

And I was like, huh, that does sound kind of interesting and sounds like it would be great. And then I think I've shared this with you, but there was a time where and I think I have shared it with you, but I was sitting in that like Friday meeting in like weekend, or I don't remember what they call IT staff meeting for my instructor position. And the supervisor was like, alright everybody; there are some things coming down for active duty Air Force that are not going to be taken very lightly.

And so we were all like. Oh, what is this? Is this, like, bad, good and different? What? Like, what's happening? And so he started to say that they were looking to get people or cut people from the active duty military side and then read off like 25 names, and there was only like 35 people in the room. So it was almost everybody in the room, right? And my name was included. So the active duty Air Force was looking to cut. And I saw my friend's faces. Some of them, they were like, holy crap, I have nothing going on. I don't know what I want to do. And I started smiling inside. Like, huh? Well, this is my chance.

Like, let's take it and run. I'm going to come home. I want to build this career and really work together and just launch Fitness Realty, which we didn't have, the name at that point to my knowledge. Anyway, so for everybody that's watching, that was like one of the moments where I was like, well, this is a hard fork in the road. It was a well. I've just been presented this opportunity to shift my entire life and change the outcome.

Anyway, so I've prepared to get out of active duty Air Force and then returned home to Salt Lake and at that time. Or when I got home, Salt Lake was like or, the Utah State division of real estate said. Everything you've done in North Carolina doesn't count. And so I was like, Oh well, thanks. It was good, but I guess it wasn't good enough for Utah to classify it as actually working this job. And so I had to redo all the school retest, get licensed, pass the test on my first try, of course, and then started selling homes with Sore Realty. And right alongside my mom.

So we started selling together, which was really awesome. And then I think it was about 2014. So right around the same time when I got home that I actually think we did come up with the name because we were chasing our passions, our passion for real estate, our passion for fitness, our passion for encouraging people to strengthen their own lives and become the strongest version of themselves.

We didn't really have that motto at that time, but we knew what we wanted to do with the real estate company, and we knew that we wanted to really push that. We just needed three years of selling for me to become the broker, and so we really started pushing hard and selling. So what were you thinking like right around that same time, Mom, about 2014 maybe or like your preliminary thoughts of Fitness Realty and what it was going to look like or what kind of motivated you about it?

Kerry McLelland: Well, can I just add that? Thank you for reminding me. At your time in North Carolina, when you were told you wouldn't have a position there, and I'm a big believer in things happen for a reason. And that was the reason. It was like, Oh my gosh! You got to come home. That's they want you out, and I want you here. And so come and sell real estate here in Utah. Yeah, sorry about that. You'd had to re-license, and I made you be the broker. Because things got moved along much quicker if I had just taken the lead on that, but I appreciate you doing that.

People look up to you. You're just a leader in general. You can take over, and people will follow you and which has been happening. But as far as the name for Fitness Realty, I don't remember exactly when it came into play, but we did talk our passions and wanting to help improve people's lives and wondered if we could give this a go with being a stronger version of themselves, either our clients or our other agents that come on board. We're encouraging, constantly encouraging. Plus, that helps us move along too. So I don't know. Did I answer your question?

TJ McLelland: Yes, you did. Thank you. I have a really kind of funny story about the name, and this is for all of our viewers, and there was a time that I was standing there in the office of my now military guard base. So while we were building Fitness Realty and or building the ideas and not really talking about the name and putting it out there, right before we launched, there was this time I was chatting with Zach Everett from our staff, which he's on our team now and was from the very beginning of that time, but we were standing there in the office, and we hadn't released the name or talked about it anywhere that was out in the open for the public.

And there was this time he said, hey, are we launching Fitness Realty? Like, when is this happening? And there was a bunch of people in the room, and he was like, oh, I mean, um, I'm trying to fitness things in my mouth. It was super funny, and I think it got out anyway. People started like figuring out the name and stuff like that. But anyway, it was just a funny story. It was like a little blurb that nobody should have known, but then it was out anyway. So then we just rolled with it, and I just remember Zach going, oh crap, I tried to fix something.

Kerry McLelland: I didn't know this story. I'm going to go after him.

TJ McLelland: Yep, it was so funny, and I think it was like right before we actually launched, of course, but we still had the non-disclosure of confidential information, and that was part of it. So you should have seen his face. It was hilarious. I had a good time, and Zacks was a great guy, so I will never like say anything bad, but it was just so funny to be in the same room when that was happening and watch it go down. So anyway, let's talk about like a little bit about the company as a whole. When we first launched, the idea was to really have an incentive that was designed to help people become the strongest version of themselves.

We're going to have many, many videos about the structure of the company and things like that, but right now. The main thing I wanted to touch on was that we really do encourage that we have an incentive for our agents to become the strongest version of themselves to get a better Commission split. And we also encourage all of our clients to do that for themselves as well so that they can have either a rebate or a Commission structure break from the selling side of their home.

And that incentive really comes from committing to doing something that's stronger for themselves. I have a laundry list that I'll kind of rattle off that I think or I've had people commit to, and then I know my mom will share with us her personal favorite for her and maybe some of the people around her. So my laundry list is walking more drinking water. Maybe parking your car further away from the store, running a 5K, or my personal favorite for me is running a Spartan race. But we also include journaling or praying more, so we're really incentivizing the whole person concept. And so, I want my mom to share with us her personal favorite for her.

Kerry McLelland: I wonder if you know what it is, TJ. I have a passion for horses, and I anytime I'm around them, I'm much, much happier. People know that's what gets me up in the morning. I look out the window first thing to check on the horses and make sure they're all standing and waiting for breakfast. So as the more I can ride, the happier I am. And the greatest thing about that is that keeps my physical well-being going as well as my mental, of course, because then I'm a happier person all around. But I love those.

I love other things that TJ hit on. You know, I think better in your mind by reading. Reading is very important. Find a book, it doesn't matter what it is but read, and you'll become better at reading and just being able to deal with other people in your lives.

TJ McLelland: Nice! I love those, and I would have nailed that one on the head for sure. I've had many people talk about the way you have a passion for horses, and it's just as fun to watch that. No matter how much poop you have to scoop, life is still good with those. For me, that is not happening. So Yep, for everybody that doesn't know, I did grow up riding, rode horses, did some roping, did some well like riding club, and so you wouldn't see it by my outward appearance, but I used to be kind of cowboyish.

Kerry McLelland: Well, you know, you did go to state in the 4H program. There were a lot of friends that looked up to you. They followed how well you did. I do think you tested really well in 4H as well. You're pretty smart, and I've always liked that, how smart you are.

TJ McLelland: Thank you! So let's talk about real quick before we wrap up. Just kind of where the company is at. I'm going to throw out some stats for everybody really fast. So as you can tell, we did launch in 2018. I didn't say what date specifically until now, but in February 2018, we did open the doors of Fitness Realty. So you can see it started right here with me and my sweet mother next to me. And then we have grown to 27 licensed agents as of today, and or at the time of shooting this, we do have several people in the works getting licensed or going through school to get licensed, so we'll probably grow to almost double if everybody on our waiting list gets licensed.

The school is kind of hard, so sometimes people don't finish. So if we did have everybody finish, we would almost go to double the size we are now. And that's in a little over four years, which is just kind of crazy to me. So I'm excited that we are running this podcast. I'm excited that we are running this channel so that we can showcase what we are up to. And I just want to give my mom a couple of final thoughts if she wants to present those, and then I'll wrap up.

Kerry McLelland: Final thoughts! I never want anything to be final, but the game in real estate, I call it a game. It's our challenges in life sometimes, but we've been succeeding with the way the real estate market is right now. It can be hard on everybody involved, but we're here to help everyone. TJ, like I said, is so great. Being at the head of our team and helping everyone understand and be knowledgeable about what, how to protect themselves, but yet how to go out and achieve what the people want for real estate, being buyer, sellers, and our team. So he's there.

I love him for doing that. I'm here to back him up. Any which way I can. Sometimes I might. I need more. What do you want me to do? And then he said I had to be on a video. So love it. Yeah. Right. Anyway, yeah, I'm looking forward to the future. I'm, I love that we become incorporated and that people are coming on board being part of this whole business. And I want them to succeed as well. So I'm excited.

TJ McLelland: Nice! Thank you so much. I always love chatting with you about where we're going, what we're headed to, and just things that were up to. You did say something super powerful there, the incorporation for the company, Super Big. I can't wait to do another video when we talk about the corporation side and what we're doing for asset acquisition, which I think will surpass the sell side, 1 day, and we are growing like crazy, like my mom said. So it's just fun, and we're just passionate about it. So I'm excited to share that with everybody watching or listening.

We are growing. I'm just so excited to share that growth with you. And if you ever have any questions about Utah real estate or very soon, we're going to be franchising out. So if you have questions about real estate as a whole, we can help you. We definitely put our client's needs ahead of our own, and we want to bring back integrity to this business. Not that it has been last, but there are sections of it that can feel kind of bad. And so we're just excited to share that with you guys and to make sure that you know you're taking care of. And so, as a whole from Fitness Realty, we're very appreciative of all your support, and we really want to thank you. Alright, see you guys later.

Kerry McLelland: Cya!

TJ McLelland: And that's a wrap. Thank you so much for supporting us. We'll see you next time, and we love you later!

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