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The First Step In Building Is The Foundation



I’ve been working on building an empire.

It’s still in the very early stages, in fact it’s still a long way off from an empire. Right now, it’s more like a small hut in the middle of the wide open plains inhabited by a nomad that’s still trying to figure out fire. I’m still a caveman and I’ve got a long way to go to be the Emperor. But this caveman has bumped into a few other cavemen in his travels that have shown him how to make the basic tools needed for survival. He’s been gathering these tools and practicing them and perfecting them. He hasn’t reinvented the wheel, just learned how useful it can be and learning that two wheels work better than one (try picturing a caveman on a unicycle for just a second).

Ok, I pictured it and I’m still laughing…so give me a minute to settle down.

Blogging is my Bronze Age

I got lucky and discovered the tool of blogging early on in my career as an agent. Thanks to Lani and Benn’s encouragement (and subsequently the entire AG cast) I found something that made sense to me as a life-long nerd and became a tool I knew I had to use. So I began using this new tool of bronze and found that I had the tool, but nothing to use it on. I was blogging to practice my abilities, but there weren’t the grand stories of millions of clients rushing to me that I had dreamed of. I wasn’t discouraged, but I did wonder where it would lead.

I am not about to announce a major breakthrough involving the largest transaction of my life thanks to blogging. On the contrary, there is still no business from blogging. But the foundation has been laid. Just this week, I began getting comments on my blog. Not just from agents and friends (and one from my dad), but from ordinary people in the San Antonio area. It took a long time, but they are out there. They’ve been flirting with my blog for months now; looking, making a few clicks, and disappearing once again. I wrote a post about a street project here (that has been in the news since I moved here) and suddenly, there were visitors who felt the need to chime in. Several comments appeared overnight. It took almost a month of that post being “live,” but they found it. And they’re just the tip of the iceberg. My visitors have increased three fold since that post got noticed. And guess who else noticed? Google. I am now the number one site for the search “281 super street” – ahead of the local news stations who have covered this ad naseum. Plenty of you have reached these heights a million times over, but this is a big step in the evolution of this agent. I’m now “findable.”

Each step takes time, but each step brings me closer.

I’ve had those moments where I felt I was blogging to myself. It took a few months for my site to become relevant, but it is happening. I’ve never been one to be discouraged and knowing that there are those of you out there that are using blogging as a successful tool only makes it easier to keep going. So as I begin to see the use of my tools, I begin to see new ways to use them and my thoughts are turning to crafting new tools.

I want an empire. And I am building it brick by brick. First step is building the foundation. The Iron Age is just around the corner (I will talk about this soon) and I am ready to push further down the path to my own personal goals. Thank you Bronze Age. Thanks for giving me just enough to keep me going and showing me that there is a pay off in the future.

Now someone hand me that axe, I have a monster to slay.

photo courtesy of djweitzner

Matt is a former PA-based rockstar turned real estate agent with RE/MAX Access in San Antonio, TX. He was asked to join AgentGenius to provide a look at the successes and trials of being a newer agent. His consumer-based outlook on the real estate business has helped him see things from both sides. He is married to a wonderful woman from England who makes him use the word "rubbish."

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  1. Craig Barrett

    March 26, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Hey Matt, I’m glad you’ve written about your adventure as a two-wheeled caveman… Haha. Of course it’s only fitting you framed your journey as an “evolution”.

    As I learned new tools, I felt like I had taken the wrong path. Recently, a good friend helped me understand that’s ok. It’s part of the process of determining what’s good for your business.

    Congrats on your success!

  2. Missy Caulk

    March 26, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Matt, it takes time, but you are Rockin it now. The foundation is critical to the future health of any building or blog.

  3. Matt Stigliano

    March 27, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Craig – “Two-wheeled caveman” – I think I’m going to name a band that. The wrong path is absolutely essential I think. If you only make good choices, when you do finally make the wrong move, you’ll be devastated. Making them early is always a good idea I think – get them out of the way and learn from them. Of course, if you don’t learn from them, you’re doomed anyway. I’ve actually been working on a blog post (in my head) titled “Failure is an option.”

    Missy – What can I say, I’ve got good teachers (thank you). I think the biggest lesson I learned quickly was that blogging was not a quick path to success. It won’t bring immediate response, but it will bring response…over time. If you give up on it right away, its easy to see why someone would believe it doesn’t work. My foundation is strong and I’m still perfecting it – my empire will be built, but it will be a process, not build-it-in-two-days-and-then-its-done.

  4. Clint Miller

    March 27, 2009 at 8:22 am

    Matt — Awesome post. Well worth the feature…

    Having said that, I’m thinking that you are a bit further evolved than you assume you are…Cromagnum, maybe. But, not Neanderthal. 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

  5. Matt Stigliano

    March 27, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Clint – Thanks. If I get to be anyone, I want to be the caveman that knows about car insurance. Wait, that guy’s show got canceled – nevermind.

  6. John Palmisano

    March 29, 2009 at 4:52 am

    Matt, Great story. Matt, I love the headline “Stigliano Chronicles.” Much success to you.

    KW Weston

  7. Matt Stigliano

    March 29, 2009 at 10:34 am

    John – The title is Lani and Benn’s creation (and Lani did the graphic for it). Glad you enjoyed it.

  8. Karen Highland

    March 30, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Matt, what an encouraging post, thanks! It seems that there is often one local post that first puts a blogger on the map, and it all gets better from there. For me it was a post about challenging your home assessment in mid-cycle. I wrote it at just the right time, and it has brought me tons of traffic. Congrats on your success.

  9. Matt Stigliano

    March 30, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Karen – I enjoyed writing this one and what its leading up to in my head will make it even better. It is pretty amazing how you can feel like your blogging to no one and then suddenly, some people start appearing. Thanks!

  10. Claudia Gonella

    April 2, 2009 at 7:54 am

    “Blogging to yourself” – it does feel like that sometimes.

  11. Matt Stigliano

    April 2, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Claudia – And when it does, I just read my post like I had never wrote it. Sometimes trying to step away from what I wrote and reading it as someone else helps me think of what I could do to improve.

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Business Marketing

“House has spark” – burning up the MLS with typos and other bloopers



The year is starting a march toward its natural ending, friends…and it seems a few real estate careers may be also. This week I found some real head-scratchers in local real estate ads and the MLS.  However, I get submissions from all over the U.S., so no one is safe from the eyes of  the Blooper Scooper. Check out these blunders:

Do You Smell Smoke?

“House has spark” (Apparently your real estate career isn’t the only thing going up in smoke.)

“Big pep area in kitchen” (Is that the cookie jar where Mommy Dearest stashes her uppers?) 

“Dull Viking ovens” (Methinks there’s something in the cookie jar that will perk up those dull Vikings.)

“Large greenhose in back” (Large, naked Jolly Green Giant in yard.)

“Mush added to this house” (Was that the overflow from between your ears?)

I Think I See Flames

“Beautifully remolded guest” (Another cosmetically-altered Barbie hits the Hollywood party circuit.)

“Enjoy a drink poolslide” ( Hell, if the pool is sliding, I’ll need a whole pint of Jack.)

“Each bedroom has own bedrooom” (Hello-o-o, Alice, how are things down there in the rabbit hole?)

“Separate pod to build GH” (That should please my pea-sized buyers.)

“Play room for the kiss” (Something tells me this is the back seat of a ’67 Chevy.)

Still Smoldering…

“Ideal for gusts” (That’s great…if you want to live in a wind sock.)

“Impaccably detailed” (Incredibly challenged)

“Stylish pewder room” (Try burning a match.)

“Stone pillars flake driveway” (Flakey agent got stoned in driveway.)

Nothing But Embers (This Week’s Fave):

“From a bygone error” (You have just written your own epitaph.)



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Business Marketing

“New bd pans inc” – Making a Splash on the MLS



I have two things to say this week: 1. When you drink, you can’t think. 2. When you drink you can’t- … uh, what was I saying? Oh, yes – the MLS.  It was so full of bloopers this week that I am led to conclude that happy hour started Monday and never stopped. Read these and tell me if it is any wonder I was driven to throw back a few martinis myself:

Booze ‘N’ Fools

“Free membership to gin inc” (It seems someone else beat us to it, Martini Mary.)

“Grab now use imagination” (That’s what Arnold said to his housekeeper.)

“House has new edition” (Agent lacks erudition.)

“Babblying broke runs in back” (Bumbling buffoon runs amuck.)

“Drop by for cocktail ho” (Oh, is the Sunset Strip for sale?)

Puff ‘N’ Stuff

“Near Sacramento airpot” (I believe his name is Jerry Brown.)

“Claw me for selling” (I’m too busy clawing my eyes out over your spelling.)

“Reduction on mid-century ner Holywod” (Another mid-sixties porn star is looking for work.)

“We can sake your home” (Can I get fried rice with my sake?)

Proof or Goof

“Nice streem” (Said Grandma to Grandpa after his diaper  exploded.)

“Nice for dog kids” (Uh, they’re called ‘puppies,” pal.)

“New bd pans included” (Thank you, Nurse Nancy – can you warm those first?)

“Good stable in neighborhood.” (Have you contacted Mary and Joseph?)

“Drawing for plasma” (Is this a blood-bank?)

And This Week’s Winner Is:

“Good school in areola” (Thanks for keeping me abreast of things.)


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My secret office organization tip – Sharpies and tape

If you’re still practicing to be OCD, here is a secret I don’t typically share with anyone, but I’m willing to share with you today…



Keeping organized

I used to be obsessed with the P-touch machine. I labeled everything. Drawers, shelves, folders, canisters, and anything that I could think of putting a label on.

But the label makers weren’t as pretty as my own handwriting and didn’t come in every color a Sharpie does, so I got the brilliant idea one day to write in light blue sharpie in my beautiful handwriting on clear tape, placed neatly on the shelves in the pantry. Visitors thought I had written on the cabinets, “what if you have to move things?” they asked. “It’s just tape, look!” I said as if I was performing a complicated magic trick.

Not just shelves!

It’s great to use this tip on files and folders so you can reuse them (especially if you have custom files or designer files), on drawers at the bottom of each section where pens and tape goes, and especially in the break room.

No more label maker, no more refill cartridges and no more mess, especially someone else’s mess! Trust me, this is an OCD person’s dream organizing tip!

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