By Ashley Gunter
Imagine being diagnosed with breast cancer, losing your father to Alzheimer’s disease and seeing one of your student’s die all in the same year? This was the reality for Priscilla Johnson in 2003. It was inspiring to hear how these traumatic experiences impacted her career journey.
Priscilla studied Business Administration at the University of Central Florida and met her husband in the last quarter of her senior year. One of her biggest regrets was not finishing school with a degree. After getting married, Priscilla pursued many different careers: a professional singer, working as an accounts manager in the banking industry, working for a national building company, working several retail sales positions, admitting manager for a Florida hospital, and owning her own ladies apparel boutique. But after the traumatic life events she endured in 2003 and with the encouragement of her husband, Priscilla decided to close her voice studio and find a new passion.
She ultimately fell in love with the real estate industry. She jokingly says, “my real estate license is my degree.” Through her strength and persistence and after working at two different agencies, she is now one of the most successful realtors in northeast Florida. In 2019, Priscilla led her company as Top Producer with $30 million in closed sales.
Key Lessons from the Innovator
Priscilla’s love to help her clients is inspiring. I was really interested to hear her four keys to success for young innovators.
1. Knowledge of the Industry and Your Product
It is so important to have extensive knowledge of the market you are trying to launch your business or product in. To be a successful innovator, you need to understand the metrics for success and failure. It also helps to have an idea of what you bring to the table that is better than your competitors. Knowing as much as you can about your business and product will help you be prepared for off guard questions, understanding your customers perspective, and why your product or business is the best on the market.
2. Financial Stability
To make money, you have to spend money. Are you able to afford launching
a business or product? Are you able to pay for employees? It is extremely
important to prepare for good and bad outcomes. Make sure you have
savings prior to launching your business.
3. Passion for the Product
Those that have the passion to make their ideas into realities will be successful. If you do not believe your product will succeed, why would the customers want it. For example, Priscilla has a desire to help people and loves understanding and meeting their needs. In whatever industry you choose, find something that has you excited for what each new day has in store.
4. Ask Tough Questions
It is so important to be able to ask the hard questions whether that is about your company or product or maybe even your customers. For example, asking “why aren’t you interested in my product” will give you the knowledge to make your product more attractive to your customers.
As individuals’ work has been disrupted by COVID-19, I thought it would be interesting to hear how a woman of such success is being impacted and how she is adapting. “Covid-19 has affected my business both positively and negatively,” said Priscilla. “It became more challenging to no longer show clients properties in person and resort to more Facetime showings in order to walk clients through a home they were considering.” She viewed this disruption in a positive way as it made her more efficient in showing homes virtually to individuals who were more serious buyers. She continues to now use FaceTime tours as a way of doing business and envisions doing this even after Covid-19 passes.
Through my research and interview, I am most impressed to hear of Priscilla’s success especially during times of hardship. You can not predict what will happen in the future but you can set yourself up to do amazing things. According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person changes jobs 12.3 times in their working life. I always thought that successful individuals knew exactly what they wanted to do in their career as soon as they went to college. I am encouraged that I can consider many different career paths in my future just like Priscilla did. She taught me to find a career that truly fits my skills and interests even if I have to go through several to find that one.
Although I can’t imagine what Pricilla has been through, I aspire to have her strength through difficult times. My future will definitely be bumpy along the way but I look forward to learning from the challenges and hopefully finding success like she did.
Connect with Priscilla on LinkedIn and learn more at her website. Ashley Gunter is a junior in the 3/2 Accelerated Management Program at Rollins College studying Business Management. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.