Ricardo Rodriguez, Boston Realtor/Creative Director for Daniela Corte
The name ‘Ricardo Rodriguez’ has become synonymous with Boston Real Estate. How have you branded yourself to become so well known in this city?
I think with any type of branding it’s all about consistency. It’s about finding your niche and keeping the messaging consistent. When I started in real estate I had to figure out where I was going to be fitting in the most organically. There are thousands of people in this business and some have been doing it for a long time.
I’ve been in the business for six years so I’m relatively new. When I started, I decided I was going to find and define my own niche and specific brand. I’ve always felt that real estate is more than just square footage. I felt it was more about ‘where you live’ than ‘how you live’. I have some clients that are so focused on square footage and location that they end up missing properties that match their lifestyle. I also have some clients that spend millions of dollars on a unit and then a year later they want to leave because it was the wrong match. But then there are those that spend $300,000 and will never move because it was just the right place. Part of my niche was to direct people away from the ‘where you live’ to the ‘how you live’.
Most of my business comes from my sphere of influence. It’s the job of each professional to figure out where the business is going to be coming from. A good friend of mine passed on some great advice to me saying that you should never do things that were work related and did not produce money.
What made you extend your professional reach to fashion and become the Creative Director for Daniela Corte? Any chance we can expect a fashion line of your own?
When I started in real estate, I was very lucky to obtain work through a real estate developer and get engaged with design (e.g. designing kitchens and bathrooms). That element has always been a big part of my life. I found that people clicked with my design aesthetic.
Daniela is a great friend and I originally started by giving my opinion. When I started talking to her about her business, she was mainly doing custom dresses. We talked about her branching out into ready to wear and creating full lines that could be mass produced. That was when my original involvement began. I started editing her collections and working on her campaigns.
Currently we are working on the spring/summer campaigns while getting the fashion ready for the fall. I also helped with the design and the merchandising of the Daniela Corte store which opened on Newbury Street in November of 2011.
For most successful entrepreneurs, there is no typical day so give us a sample of your schedule from start to finish.
It’s early! I get up between 5AM-5:30AM and hit the gym. I try to spend some regular, scheduled time at the office. Since my job is appointment based, I could literally spend days without going there. Even if it’s just sitting around and going through emails, I think it’s a good thing to be at the office.
The rest of the day is booked with appointments. On my busiest days I could have a showing every half hour. On my slower days, I jump into the design work for Daniela Corte.
I definitely try to carve in some personal time. I work seven days a week but I do see friends every day (whether for lunch or dinner).
Then it’s bed by 10PM or so. I wish I didn’t have to sleep!
What are your “can’t live without” apps on your desktop/cell phone?
I’m not an app person. However, I do use:
I spend most of time in my email and calendar.
What are your tricks for time management?
The primary trick for me is to take care of stuff immediately. Not that you are trying to procrastinate, but sometimes you don’t end up doing something if you don’t answer or act immediately. Do not wait to answer a phone call! Do not wait to answer an email! Just do it!
Best advice received when you started your career?
Like I mentionted earlier, always pursue work related activities that make you money.
In business, you have to trust your gut and be fearless. On top of that, you can’t necessarily listen to everything everyone has to say because everyone has an opinion. Some people mean well while some others don’t.
I can’t tell you how much crap I got for starting the fashion work. To a lot of people it didn’t make sense since I was also doing real estate and home design. However, I knew what my brand was and where it needed to go and it made sense to me. If I listened to others I would have abandoned it!
What’s been your proudest achievement as such an immensely accomplished Entrepreneur?
My proudest achievement is being where I currently am. My work right now fulfills me 100%.
Your top 3 book recommendations for our readers (and why?)
I really enjoyed the Richard Branson book (Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Buinsess My Way)
He went about his business using his gut feeling and didn’t give crap about what anyone else thought.
If you had an exceptional month and earned double of your average income, what (if anything) would you spend it on?
Shoes. I have a huge weakness for shoes.
What are some of your most rewarding charitable involvements and why?
I’ve supported all sorts of organizations. I certainly have a sweet spot for equality issues and HIV/AIDS foundations.
I love Youth Design. It funds internships for inner city high school students interested in the design profession (i.e graphic, fashion, architecture).
Who has been the most influential person to you as you’ve advanced in your career?
It’s hard to pinpoint one person because I have drawn inspiration from several people. I’m very lucky to have a successful group of friends in different fields that I can draw advice and inspiration from.
What’s your advice to someone interested in entrepreneurship?
If you are going to start a side business be sure you are doing something that you like and that makes sense to you. Make it organic.