We had the good fortune of connecting with Jon Sisenwein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jon, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
After over 20+ years in the Advertising business, it was becoming clear – as I got older – job security was not looking good. The industry is known for layoffs. Jumping from agency to agency was just part of the game. Landing a job became harder and harder. I loved creating ads, I loved playing with words and finding the perfect sequence to tell a story. But I hated playing the corporate game. Growing up with two parents who were self-employed. I understood the freedom of working for yourself. My father was a Psychologist in private practice and my mother was a real estate broker. They both worked hard, but the stress of finding new patients/clients was always looming. However, the reward was greater. So, In 2009, I took a leap of faith and started my own advertising agency: Tandem Advertising & Design (tandemptnrs.com). The idea was to create an agency that could do just about anything, using the resources of really talented people I had worked with over the past 20 years. No employees, just freelancers. People who were really good at what they did – so we could get work done quickly for our clients without wasting time. Clients love the efficiency. Freelancers love that projects keep rolling in and they can pick and choose as they wish. Finding and keeping clients though, was an inevitable battle known to every agency on the planet. We are no different. This is where the mid-life crisis comes in. Torn between a career that I loved and two kids in private school, and college tuition not too far off – it was time to think about the end game. One evening, in a casual conversation over a glass of wine, my wife Sara says, “I don’t know why you don’t get your real estate license. I mean, look what you’ve done for us.” And she was right. Since 1998 I had successfully navigated 11 real estate transactions in 3 states. Was I ready for a career change? The answer was yes!
What should our readers know about your business?
Let’s be honest, there are over 1,200 Real Estate Brokers in Boulder County – a stat I hear all the time. The reality is, not all Brokers are created equally – and the bar isn’t all that high. It’s no secret, Brokers – in general – have a bad reputation. So when I started down this path, I knew I’d have to break the mold. When you jump into this business, the competition is fierce – especially in Boulder County. Everyone knows at least a few Brokers. You need to define yourself and allow others to really see what you have to offer. For me, that’s always been being a partner. This idea dates back to my advertising days and will always be what motivates me. It’s less about a sale and more about what I sold, and was it the best I could do. An idea for a TV commercial is no different than a home. Many equate the practice of real estate to sales. And while there is that function of buying and selling homes, I’m a strong believer that I’m not selling anything. I have clients and I help them develop the right strategies to buy and/or sell a home in alignment with their goals. It’s for this reason I consider myself a “next chapter facilitator”. Everybody has a goal, a place they want to be – or even a place they need to leave. Getting them across that line successfully, so they can start that next chapter of life, is the best part of what I do.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Being a Real Estate Broker in Boulder is special. It means I get to share the place I love with so many others – in lots of ways. For folks moving here from out-of-state, I’m their personal tour guide. There’s nothing better than helping plan a long weekend in Boulder in search of a new home. Here’s what that may look like: Arrive Thursday evening at the St. Julien Hotel with enough time to grab fresh oysters and a casual dinner at Jax Fish House. Sit at the bar for great service and a chance to rub elbows with a few locals. Friday morning starts with brunch at The Kitchen, followed by an afternoon tour of homes and sights in Boulder. After a late afternoon siesta, we’ll meet on the rooftop of Corrida for dinner to discuss the days adventures. Saturday starts with bagels and coffee from Mo’s Bagels and a few more properties to tour. The day ends a bit early to rest up before heading to Frasca Food and Wine for a truly amazing culinary experience. Sunday is a free day, but not to be wasted. Perhaps a short drive up the canyon to explore the town of Nederland, or go north through Lyons to Estes Park – the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. For city enthusiasts, Denver has more to offer than a day will allow, but it’s a good start. Make sure you hit Red Rocks on the way back as your drive through Golden. Perhaps catch an evening concert if the dates align. Monday morning you’ll be meeting with a lender at 9am to get that ball rolling, then it’s off to the airport. Don’t worry, you’ll be back soon. They always come back! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First, I need to thank my late father, Robert Sisenwein, who always thought Advertising wasn’t a real job and was delighted to hear – after 20+ years of some pretty significant success and a Writer and Creative Director – I was getting serious and becoming a real estate agent. Second, my wife Sara. After all, it was her idea in the first place. But, in addition to that, she’s put up with countless late nights at the office, and week-long trips to LA to cast, shoot and edit commercials – all while focusing on her own successful career.
Websites: www.coloradohomesbyjon.com www.tandemptnrs.com