To the friends and supporters of Nikki P’s Realty:

I have spent the last 10 years growing a business. It has found lots of success, but it’s no secret that it came at a cost. As I dove in to this dream of business as a young woman in my early 20’s with three little babies, I learned and grew. I got knocked down but kept crawling. This will be the story of any self-made business owner who built everything from the ground up. As I was humbled by this adventure called small business, I went out on a quest to explore my weaknesses and learn to be better. 

I knew the generation behind me was going to be a challenge. I was struggling with my own generation, but finally felt like I was getting it. I knew that if I was going to play the infinite game of business, I had to grow and adapt to this next generation. They would be the most educated and also most misunderstood. If I felt defeated on a playing field I understood, I knew I had to go back to school to get my MBA to survive on a playing field I likely would not relate to. 

I dove straight into this generation. From a decade of being a small business owner and finding great success, I have learned what it takes to succeed. I realized it’s something I can do, I just may not want to right now. It may be where I was and where I will be again one day, but it may not be where I am now. As I dove into new-age thinking and learning, I realized I not only learned to adapt to this free-thinking generation, but I have become similar to it. 

I spent my first 4-5 years of business playing on the team. It inspired me to want to coach and eventually start an organization where I could teach players and teach teams. I spent the next 5 years doing that really well but feeling much less inspired. Why was I losing my inspiration for the only career I have ever really had or loved? I was succeeding but not really liking how it felt to do so. I loved playing the game, and I loved being on the team. I love people, and I missed sitting in clients’ living rooms, hearing stories, and playing the game with the team. How do I have it both ways? Ten years later, can I have both? Can I use what I have learned about how to be successful in business, but still be back on the field? I can! 

I have owned a successful Real Estate Brokerage. In the last year or two, I have had agents wanting to join our organization. I realized that every time I took on an agent, it meant I had less time playing the game I loved, and I mostly stopped. We are only given so much time and energy, and I think God wants us to use it on what inspires us most. 

For the time being, I am choosing smaller and simpler. Instead of a brokerage, I want to be a small team and broker one or two independent agents (who are friends and actually rockstars who don’t need too much from me besides love and support). I  want to be on the field playing the game I love. I want to be the quarterback instead of the coach or franchise owner. My 10 years of learning business and finding success in it taught me to understand how to do it. As I continue getting my MBA, I’m doing what inspires me most – Playing the game with my teammates. I truly enjoy taking on a new listing where I can put my skills and expertise to good use. I often find myself completely rearranging and staging clients’ homes, planting St. Jospeh statues in their yards, and adding colorful wreaths and doormats from my own home to theirs. I love hearing about why they are selling – some are downsizing because their children are grown and have moved out; they are moving forward in their lives to chase big dreams; some are in the middle of a divorce. Whether they are selling for amazing reasons or because they are faced with the hardest situation of their lives, I love spending time with them, loving and listening to them with empathy and support, and hopefully, I am encouraging them as they have greatly encouraged and enriched my life and perspective.

In the last year, I have felt lead somewhere else and started transitioning from brokerage back to a small team with a friend or two working with us. If I preach praying for guidance and God talking with intuition, I better live it. I realize that I may be doing the opposite of what most people want in business by getting smaller. I recently got a big opportunity in Real Estate to have something big, something that would be a great success, but I had to remember that there’s always a trade. There is a time and place for everything, but I’m not willing to make that trade now. For now, I want to get smaller and simpler, and step back on the field with my teammates. We may not have 15 people and be able to take on as much as before, but I want to put my heart and soul into all that we do take on. I can assure you that the quality of our work will not change.

Here is to getting smaller and simpler. Sometimes we have to wrestle our ego and listen to our spirit. Of the things that inspire me most, I was born to love people. I think that being a big shot and building something huge would be great for my ego, but that would take me from my purpose. In my head I want to be the big shot, but in my heart I know God says, “Choose again. I need you to be small and simple. I need you to love people.” I feel like He asked me to humble myself and get smaller, and I’m going to listen to Him. Where He walks I will follow, and I have no doubt I’ll end up exactly where I need to be. 

Thank you all for the unconditional love and support! 

Nikki Lafuria

Mom, wife, small(er) business owner