We had the good fortune of connecting with Audrey Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Audrey, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I remember having an epiphany when I was about 16 years old that made me realize if I’m ever working as an employee under a company, no matter how hard I work, whatever I’m making or producing will always trickle up to the head of the company. Sometimes, this could be a person I’ll never even meet. Think about it: working at a place like Target, every dime you produce, the CEO of Target is getting a share of. How many employees of Target have met the CEO? Does the CEO even know their names? It made me say to myself, I will never work hours on end just to see a portion of what I worked for. Ever since, I’ve envisioned being an entrepreneur and working for myself. Even though I understand that not ALL of my money gets to be mine (like many of us who pay splits or taxes), I feel more comfortable with that decision than being limited by a salary or wage, and being controlled by hours. Everything I do, I look at on a large scale, and I determine what the possibilities could be for long-term growth so I know I have a plan and will be taken care of.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What makes me most excited about being a Model and Real Estate Agent is that the little girl I was 20 years ago would be amazed at who I am today. These are both things I always wanted to be, but they always sounded too big or too far out of reach. These are things I would ask myself, “Doesn’t everyone want to be a model and real estate agent? It seems unoriginal for that reason.” But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that these are the things that I fixate on, that I want to do, and not everyone else does. At a certain point, you have to stop denying what you want and go for it. That’s how you know something is meant for you. As early as high school I knew I wanted to model, but everyone, even my own family had doubts because of my height (5’3″). I can’t blame them. Society tells men and women you have to be tall to model, which simply isn’t true, but I believed that as many others do for the longest time, and assumed I would never get to model. When Helen got me the opportunity to be on the Bud Light Tour, it felt like the beginning of a dream. Being a promotional model is much different than what many think of when they hear the word “model,” but that’s where my first photoshoots took place and I inevitably fell in love with the craft. The pictures came out great, they were so fun to create, and I began to think – maybe I could do this. It didn’t become real until other photographers actually started asking me to shoot for fun, and even for commercial brands where I was paid. It was a challenge for me to accept that I could call myself a model, and I held myself back for the first year or two before I was comfortable even saying it. But once I stopped limiting myself, I was much happier and realized my potential and that it was what I really wanted, and who I was. I graduated college with a Marketing degree because I always saw myself as an entrepreneur, and thus wanted to be in the School of Business. Marketing is incredibly fascinating, and there were a few times in college where I actually thought the idea of being employed by a large firm might be fun. In the end, I’m definitely happy I got my degree, but I still don’t feel like I’ll ever want to be controlled or limited by a “job”. Getting the degree wasn’t easy, but it showed me discipline and true achievement, and also gave me some of the tools needed to successfully market myself in my career. Real Estate was something I had always considered, and I decided about 4 months after getting my degree to get my license. I’m so happy I did decide to get into this industry, because I truly love homes. I used to think about getting a degree in architecture or interior design just to be in the realm of homes. I love looking at them, I love seeing all of the different personalities come out in design when I’m showing homes, and I also love helping people make the huge decision on where they will live next. Home is where the heart is. Not everyone in the real estate industry genuinely cares about people, which can be dangerous. I feel like there is a lot of responsibility that goes into helping someone make such a big purchase and life decision, and I know I have a good heart and head on my shoulders to be the one to guide people through that process. I look forward to where this will take me, especially as the city of Austin grows tremendously. I have learned some lessons along the way. My advice for modeling is to not start out too strong – only shoot with people who are interested in making you look really good, and who won’t pressure you into doing something you’re not comfortable with or ready for. Despite how much you think you know about your future self, you may not like some photos from the past when you’re ready to grow. Photos never change. I can’t say I love every single shoot I’ve done, but I’ve always known my boundaries, and I think that’s helped me a lot when it comes to having a long-term modeling career that people can respect me for. I try to encourage new models to view their career in a long-term way as well, because when first starting out you might want to jump into the deep end and it may limit your potential in the future or cause you to be unhappy with where you end up. I use my Instagram and blog to share pieces of advice for models all the time, because I know how much I would have appreciated having some guidance when I first started out. For real estate, my advice is to just get started. Don’t wait. Bite off more than you can chew. Learn as much as you can, have mentors to help you through the process, and be patient. Again, it’s all about looking long-term, especially when it comes to selling homes. I’m not expecting to be a millionaire in my first year, but I know everything will fall into place if I trust the process and stay consistent. Put people before profits always, and do your best to be a helpful resource for others in any way you can.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my friends are ever in Austin, I would be sure to show them plenty of nature. I love to walk around barefoot in Bull Creek, and hang out at Pennybacker Bridge off 360. I think it’s one of the best areas in the Hill Country. If they wanted to get closer to the water, but not get in, I would rent paddle boards from The Rowing Dock so we could spend a few hours lounging on the water and taking in the views of the city. I would also show them Lake Travis because it’s like Austin’s own little piece of the beach. Oasis on Lake Travis would be an ideal spot to get dinner and watch the sunset. I’d also love to go to the Domain for shopping and fun, and get Tyson’s Tacos late at night since they’re open 24/7 and never disappoint. I’d show them my office at Twelve Rivers Realty, right off 7th and Rio Grande, because it’s in a historic area yet right next to some of the best bars in town like Greenlight Social and Kung Fu. If they wanted to eat some delicious vegan food, I’d get them the vegan chicken and waffles from Beer Plant, or we could get salad stuff from Trader Joe’s!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Some people and organizations I’d like to shoutout are my best friend since childhood, Helen Sowa, for connecting me to the opportunity of a lifetime years ago that put me on the path to where I am today. Furthermore, I’d like to thank the people at Infinite Agency for believing in me and extending that opportunity, as well as the photographers Abraham, Adam, and and Tommy who asked me to be part of their larger photoshoots, giving me the encouragement needed to believe in myself as a model when I didn’t think I would ever get to have that title. I’d like to thank Kristin Ortiz for asking me to shoot with TheChive when I was new to the Austin area, and putting me in a space where I received so much exposure that allowed me to grow my Instagram to where it is now, which has definitely landed me several other opportunities. I would like to thank my mom and dad for encouraging me to dream big and strive for the moon, and forcing me to get my college degree because it is a huge accomplishment I don’t think I would have done without their guidance and support. I’d also like to thank my amazing boyfriend for being a source of support and love through all the crazy times of the past 3 years, without him I don’t know where I’d be. I’d like to thank Bill Wilson and the entire team at Twelve Rivers Realty for believing in me, and bringing me on with such a great group of people who inspire me every day and challenge me to grow.
Other: @audreysmith.realtor (Real Estate Account)
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