This week, I spoke with my friend and fellow business owner, Daniel Zabala, a REALTOR® with Rector Hayden about the real estate industry and the particular challenges of self-employment that come with it. In addition to working full-time as an agent, Daniel is back in school completing his Masters program and serving in local ministries. He is the definition of “busy” and I’m very grateful he was able to share some insights into his work!
Back to Grasics: How long have you been in your business/what’s your industry experience?
Daniel Zabala: I have been a Licensed active Realtor, Real Estate agent for over 1.5 years now. My bachelor’s degree is in Business Administration with a Minor in Accounting
My work experience include:
Enterprise Rent-A-Car (customer service focused car rentals)
Medicine and Dentistry -U.S. Navy
Also, at one point had my Life Insurance license and starting learning about “Financial Coaching”
B2G: What is your industry like? What challenges does it bring?
DZ: Being a Realtor is ALL about service. Its about building and maintaining healthy relationships and being proactive, self disciplined, and professional in all dealings. I love that I get to simply help people, set my own schedule, everyday is different, and the opportunity for long-term success is great; if you are willing to put in the work and make the sacrifices necessary. Challenges include the uncertain of things; contracts going through, getting new clients, selling listings, etc. The hardest challenges are a first; trying to build a clientele from scratch while still having to pay your bills and make ends meet.
B2G: What are your favorite aspects of self-employment?
DZ: I set my own schedule, I’m my own boss, I own my own business, and I have the freedom to really impact people and make a difference in as large a way as I want and am willing to work for.
B2G: What is your greatest struggle with self-employment? How do you tackle it?
DZ: It has been, so far, getting the clients I need to make ends meet. But thankfully, through tons of prayer, patience, continued effort and networking that should soon no longer be an issue.
B2G: What particular expertise do you have and how do you implement it into your business?
DZ: I’d say my biggest assets I provide to my clients that makes me unique include my extensive experience and knowledge with Customer Service, Negotiating Abilities, Communication skill, Attention to detail, Knowledge about investments and financial things, an artistic eye, and my ability to manage my time and efforts.
Every job I’ve ever had has been extremely focused on customer service as well as communication to some level. I grew up surrounded by the arts from music to dance, martial arts, and anything crafty. This really helps with seeing what a house, building, or space COULD be as well as the ergonomics and efficiency/use of a space or piece of equipment.
When I was 18 I obtained my Life Insurance license and started learning from my Dad how to be a Financial Coach and with a Minor in Accounting I have learned a ton about investments, business structures, and taxation. And having completed my entire bachelor’s degree, going to school full-time while working 40-60 hours a week in the Navy, really helped me become extremely self disciplined (time management).
B2G: What advice would you like to share with new or aspiring entrepreneurs?
DZ: Just start. Start reading, learning, LISTENING (listen well), set S.M.A.R.T. goals, and start working.
Work hard, rest well, play often, be grateful in all circumstances, by all means pray, stay positive and focused, and as my hero Art Williams says, “Just Do It!”.
And if you don’t know God, you might want to learn a bit about who He is and what He thinks about you. Because He loves you and if your motivation is purely to “get rich” you will inevitably fail. You have to be others focused and enjoy what you do.
Thank you, Daniel, for your insights into the ever-changing world of real estate agents! If you’re in need of Central Kentucky real estate services, Daniel is reachable at or 859.979.3446.