Whether we like it or not, we need other people. This has been a lesson that took Cami Baker a long time to learn, having lived most of her life trying to prove herself and that she can do things without anyone’s help. On today’s show, Cami joins Jen Du Plessis to talk about her transition from being a real estate agent and stepping into coaching, mentoring, and speaking. Taking us through the thought patterns she went through as she moved from one career to another, she reveals how she was finally able to mingle her way to millions and break her glass ceilings.
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From Sponsorship To Collaboration: Mingling Your Way To Millions With Cami Baker
I am delighted to have our guest with us, Cami Baker. She is the author of Mingle To Millions. Her story is compelling. We’re going to dig in deep into Cami’s background and about all the ceilings that she’s broken through in her life. I’m sure we won’t get to all of them but we’re going to get to some very poignant ones that will help you in your decision making, as you’re going through success going into the significant part of your life making an impact on people, yourself and your family. Let me take this moment to introduce you. She is an HGTV House Hunter veteran. She was in the top 5% of realtors and mentored by the best in the real estate industry. Cami has leveraged her creative and innovative ways of seeing opportunities since she was a child.
Fast forward 40 years, her lead-generating mindset has gotten her in success with home magazine, hosting a TV show, being a radio personality and speaking to hundreds of times to audiences from 10,000 to 30,000. Her primary focus is assisting real estate professionals to meet and mingle with their ideal clients, recruit top talent, build brand awareness and loyalty through social responsibility. She says there are three specific skills that 95% of real estate professionals, in fact, any salespeople don’t understand on leveraging. We won’t be able to share it in this show, but you can check it out on my other show, Mortgage Lending Mastery, she’ll share those skills. Welcome, Cami. I’m happy to have you on this show.
We hit it off right off the bat, so we’re spending some time together. It’s awesome.
It will be interesting for us to see each other at some point and be standing next to each other, figuring out who’s taller? Who’s shorter? It’s all relative on video over audio. Let’s get started with a little bit about your past. I’m going to ask you a question and then this will guide us where we’ll go. Thinking about a time in your early life that was interesting or was challenging for you, what do you think that time was or share with us that time that you feel has shaped who you are now?
I’m going to go way back to my childhood. I’m going to say that depending on your beliefs about where things start, I have heard that children even before they’re born or even when they’re in their mother’s womb, they can feel what’s going on with their mom and they know the energy. The fact is I was adopted. I knew before I was even born that I was being given away. I have spent most of my life proving myself because I’ve felt like if I could prove to you how good I am, you’d keep me around. That has played out many times including when my mother and my father who adopted me, he died when I was six years old. That was another experience of being abandoned, given away or feeling like, “If I had proved myself even more, he wouldn’t have left.” That’s none of a fun place but a serious place to start. When you have had something happen in your life that makes you feel you have to prove yourself all the time, it can be one of the best tools. I’ve proved myself enough to get on HGTV and in House Hunters and all these different things. It’s also kept me very separate and away from people most of my life.
I can empathize with that knowing my story. I saw a quote that said, “Stop proving, start living.” I saw it and thought, “Where was that way back when I was proving to everybody?”Set intention, pay attention, create retention! Click To Tweet
I don’t think we would have seen and heard it.
We may have been in the right time. How do you think that shaped your life now in what you’re doing?
It has shaped it in many ways. As a matter of fact, I went back and redid Landmark education. When I was going through that process, talking about different things in my life, moving forward with a stepfather and different things, I’m always on this path of, “I don’t need you, I can do it myself and prove to you how smart I am.” It’s played out in many ways from getting on stages to different relationships personally that I’ve had, to shifting careers and becoming a speaker. It’s been great that I’ve been able to prove myself, get on those stages and get those clients but it kept me very distant. Now, I feel like I’m tired of proving myself and showing people that I don’t need them. I want to need people. I want to feel like they need me as much as I need them. I’ve grown and matured enough that I want to put that independent driving woman. I want to put that down and I want to soften up and be more playful, joyous and loving.
I know that’s part of your transition that you’re experiencing. What I love about bringing guests on the show is that some guests are pondering this transition, others are in the midst of it and others have come out on the other side. For you, you’re in this transition. Share with everyone about the success part of your business or your life. We’ll start talking about how it’s now transitioning into some of the impactful things that you’re doing.
I always feel like I want to take a step back and talk about how one of the transitions that I made early on at the very beginning of my career was transitioning from being an alcoholic to getting sober. Stepping into that sobriety was such a huge transformation that it does seem like many times so much other stuff doesn’t even compare. Going from being an alcoholic and suicidal to going into real estate and getting a mentor right off the bat that was supportive, successful and taught me from day one how to prospect, how to lead generate, how to get a lot of business and stepping from that into another career.
One of the things I’ve noticed is in the three different careers that I’ve had that I have been successful, I started out working with someone else, for someone else or in partnership with someone else, teaching me and then doing it myself. That’s something important for our audience to know. If there’s something that you want to do, mortgage, real estate, network marketing, being a mother or anything that you want to step into and own, find someone who’s done it, been successful at it and partner with them like how people partner with you to launch their business and success.
You bring up a good point. In my 7 Strategies To Break Through Your Mindset For Your Business, one of the strategies is to take a close look at who you are surrounding yourself with, who is your circle of trust and your mentors because your mentors change. The need for them changes. It’s like climbing a ladder and you can’t be at the top of the ladder with the same people holding onto the bottom. You’re a mentor for someone as a successful realtor for your example, but that mentor that you had originally is not the mentor that you’re moving forward with because now you have another plan. It’s important for you to be constantly assessing who your mentors are as you’re making that transition. Thank you for sharing that. That’s great.
You’ve had this successful eighteen-year career in real estate and you do something neat. You started to make this transition. What triggered this transition and said, “I’ve been doing real estate, I was an alcoholic, I’m a recovering alcoholic, I’m not going to prove to anybody anymore?” This is where the name of this show is like, “What’s my life going to be like after breaking through all these ceilings? I’ve broken through those. Now what? What’s going to happen?” Tell us about your thought patterns as you went through the transition of moving into a coach and speaker where you’re at now.
When I was deciding to put the career down of being a real estate agent and step into coaching, mentoring and speaking, there was a different mentor that was in my life, Emerald Peaceful Greenforest. When she was in my life, I was in that place where I want to hang on to something that’s been so financially lucrative. It’s taken very good care of me and my daughter. Do I want to keep doing that? My heart’s not in it. Do I want to let go of that security and step into what I feel like I’m being called forth to do? Once again, I hired a mentor to help me make that transition because they can see things that we can’t see. The forest is so thick. My tree is right here and ready to help me see around it.
It was hiring her that helped me to make that energy shift in myself so that I could step into becoming a mentor. Over the years, having done HGTV and gotten on all the stages and all that, my calling is to help many others to step up and shine. To your point, you get mentoring and then you step into being a mentor. Sometimes the things that you think you’re being mentored for at the time, you find out years later, “That was great for real estate. I learned about scripting, body language, tonality and all these things and it was great for that, but it’s even more useful and impactful now.”
We do carry what we’ve learned from one to another. There’s no about it. You made the transition and you said, “That’s it, I’m done. I’m cutting off this side. I’m now going to go in this direction.” What were some of the fears that you had as you approach that?
Some of the same fears that everybody has, “What if people hire me and I can’t produce? What if they liked me as RE/MAX, Century 21 or that network marketing company, their contracts and material? What if what I’m creating people won’t resonate with? What if they don’t like it?” The imposter syndrome is default, “What if I can’t pay my bills? What if I do it, I fail and people make fun of me?” One of the biggest things that have helped me that I help others to do will be so worried about what other people think. You step into knowing that there are a lot of people that you’re here to serve. If you’re worried about listening to what other people think, don’t get me wrong, I get advice, I get mentorship from people like yourself and others who’ve been to places that I haven’t been yet. Take a look at where you’re getting your information. Who are you getting that mentorship or that advice from? When I say I try to not think about what people think, it depends on who it is but ultimately, I’m here to serve a lot of people, I want to own that and help other people do it too.Nothing is a failure, whether it’s a bad relationship or a bad situation, as long as you learn from it. Click To Tweet
For clarification here, because I know you enough to know that there’s a part of this that I want to shine a light on. As we’re going through these transitions because I too have done a very similar transition as our audience knows. The thought of we’re thinking about, “What if I fail? Can I pay my bills? Can I not be an imposter? Am I good at this as much as I think I am?” It’s important to surround ourselves with others that are going through the same thing. Hence, the reason for this show is to help people realize that you’re not doing this alone. A lot of people are going through these transitions. Come out on the other side and have lessons they can teach us, can hold our hand as we’re both going through something at the same time and can give us the nudge that we need to take that leap of faith. As you were thinking through those, you are also surrounding yourself with people realizing that you aren’t doing this alone and you’re not the only person who’s trying to do it.
One of the things that I would say to your audience is to change your playgrounds and playmates. Who are you surrounding yourself with? If you’re wanting to step into being a real estate agent that has 100 transactions a year, don’t talk to the ones that are doing five deals a year. Find the ones who are doing that what you were wanting to do and change who you’re listening to. That’s why people should be reading your blog because garbage in, garbage out. Good in, good out.
You made the transition. How long ago did you make this transition?
I transitioned out of real estate in 2014 or 2013. My book came out in 2017. I had a little bit of a hiccup in there where I got into a personal relationship with someone who was a narcissist and needed 100% of my attention. I put my book down, my business down and was helping him with his business for about a year. I came back into it in 2018. I’m proud of that when people say, “Sure you can do it. You’ve got the book. You’ve got the history, you’ve got the longevity.” We all have our mountains, our valleys and different directions that we’ve gone in. For me to totally reposition, re-step into being a speaker, author, coach and all these things. My very first year, $103,000 with no inventory, no employees, no nothing. It’s just starting out. I’m proud of that.
To be able to have a six-figure income in the first full year, that’s fantastic. You’ve come out on the other side and you’re saying, “Life is life. I’m trying to make a living. I’m trying to do things.” You’ve had some lessons. I want to know some lessons learned because you went down a couple of paths, had to rewind, and thought you could trust somebody and couldn’t. That’s part of doing the transition and becoming an independent entrepreneur. Tell us a little bit about that and then we will transition into what are you doing to make a significant impact on people’s lives?
I was interviewed on a podcast called From Vulnerable To Valuable and talking about that whole transition with that personal relationship. Nothing is a failure, a bad relationship or a bad situation as long as you learn from it. What I learned from that was to appreciate my freedom, ability to go out, meet and mingle with anyone and everyone that I want to meet and mingle with. We all have the blessed gift in the United States of America of reinventing, rebranding, recreating ourselves anywhere. There’s never been an easier time than now with the internet. People can become famous overnight with the right YouTube video. You can rebrand yourself.
It’s important to learn lessons as you’re going through them. Part of your decision to do this transition was making an impact. I’m always someone who says that we learn, we earn and then we get to the point in our lives where we want to return. We spend so much time earning. As Bill Cosby used to say on his show called Bill Cosby: Himself, he said his parents are the same people that were so mean to him. They’re wonderful to his grandkids. He said these people are now trying to get to heaven.
What happens is that we do that too. We go, “We’ve worked so hard and we’ve been very successful but now, it’s not enough. There’s got to be more to this. There’s got to be more to life.” Helping people is part of it. In your case, you’re helping other real estate agents to be successful in a compressed period of time, learn from your failures and your lessons. What is it that you’re trying to make an impact globally? I don’t mean around the world, I’m saying your global impact on not making money and having a successful business, but what are some other pieces that you’re trying to do to instill in the clients that you work with?
Not only do I want to make an impact but when there’s a lot of experience and you see thousands and thousands of people making the same mistakes over and over, you know there’s a better way. I always think about the movie, The Poseidon Adventure, when the ship is upside down and the guy says, “Come this way.” They’re all marching down the hall and they’re going to their death. You want to say, “Come with me.” My total collaboration, my gift to the world and my contribution by 2025, I want to be the catalyst that helps people to shift from sponsorship to collaboration. Through all of that, helping people to understand how to partner for-profit and nonprofit so the social responsibility is part of their business development.
When I say make the shift from the sponsorship to collaboration, if there’s a real estate agent that’s reading this and you think to yourself, “I go to all these networking events and I sponsor events. I sit on boards for nonprofits and I run my own networking event. I’m doing all the things that they taught me to do, but you’re not getting where you want to go.” How about having a little bit of a shift in thinking? How about if you think about who are your ideal clients? Who are your ideal collaboration partners? Where are they? How can you bridge the humanity gap, get out and build those collaborations so that those businesses are making a lot of money with you and you’re getting in front of the ideal clients? I feel like my contribution to the world is helping not just people, but real estate people, step into, “There’s a certain set of people that I’m here to serve.” Instead of networking, paying money for postcards, advertising or doing open houses, how can I collaborate with the other businesses in my area so that we are all raised to a higher level?
There’s a big charity component in there for you in that collaboration. I’ve always felt it like this. I’m in a boat, I’ve got one oar and I’m spinning around in a circle and someone else is in another boat with an oar and they’re spinning around in a circle. Once in a while, we’re all networking and whatnot. We hit and a fish flops back and forth and we say, “That was great. Let’s do business together again.” We go, “That sounds good.” We go back in our little oars and we’re spinning around circles rather than that, instead, let’s get into the boat together. Let’s both use the oar and let’s go to a common goal. Your suggestion here is that we do that but the charitable component that is involved in this is what makes it most powerful. I’m not pulling strings, straws or any of that. If you don’t have one, that’s fine, but what made you bring that charitable component in? Where in your heart when you said, “Let’s not only get in the boat together but what if we could help other people?”
I’m glad that you ask it that way. When I first stepped into this, it was from a place of a business strategy. It wasn’t from a place of heart centeredness but I learned that on the way. When I was a real estate agent, I got my dream car, ‘64.5 Mustang convertible. When I bought that car, I knew that everybody from 6 years old to 60 would turn their head and look at that car. I knew that I was going to put CamiBaker.com at the time I was with RE/MAX. I put that all over the car because I knew that people would see it. The very first year that I had the car, I ran a car show. The first car show that I did, 50 people showed up, 15 antique cars. They all had $20. They’re ready to register from the car show.Make the shift from the sponsorship to collaboration. When you collaborate with other businesses, you’re all raised to a higher level. Click To Tweet
I’m totally ignorant, had never run a car show and I didn’t know what I was doing. The woman that was helping me said, “Why aren’t we taking their money?” I said, “We’re not doing this to make a couple of hundred bucks, we’re here to promote the business.” It made me think, 50 people times $20, I do the math, somebody could use that money. When I asked around, I found a place called The Live and Let Live Farm that rescued horses. They were local to my area, most people knew who they were. In that collaboration, in the beginning I thought I’ll give them the money. That’s nice. Over the years, it developed into me going to the farm, learning what they do and appreciating who they were and all the horses that they saved. I learned about the charitable part of that our money was going to something beautiful.
I also noticed that when I was out talking to people if I was at a networking event, somebody said, “What do you do?” “I’m a real estate agent. I sure I would love your referral.” “So what? There are eight others in the room.” You learn to say, “I’m glad you asked because what I’m doing is an antique car show. We’re looking for hot cars and people who love cars. We’re given all the money to this horse farm that rescues horses. We’re looking for people who love animals too and want to help these horses.” I realize that some people maybe didn’t care about Cami or RE/MAX but they sure did love the horses or they loved that we were doing something like that. It bridged what I call the humanity gap. It gave us something in common to talk about that wasn’t, “I’m a real estate agent. Here’s my card.” It was, “I’m a human being. You’re a human being. We’re doing this fun thing. Do you want to play?”
I’m glad that we got to that point in this interview because I want people to understand how powerful that is. We certainly know nowadays, especially with Coronavirus and even before that, it was becoming more and more popular even on Facebook to donate. That donation is a sponsorship. This is what makes collaboration so different than your definition of it is that we’re not just giving money to a charity. We are actively engaging and participating with that charity to highlight and spotlight them. In the course of that, we naturally get business because we’re the person who’s bringing it to the table.
Sometimes, I’ll jokingly say I’m tricking my clients into leaving their icky salesperson at home and showing up authentically because it’s veterans, animals or the environment. Whatever turns them on, when that real estate person, mortgage person or broker is out in the marketplace meeting people, when they aren’t worried about their 32nd elevator pitch and how they’re going to explain what they do, they don’t have that sales hat on. When I teach them how to talk about the veterans and they’re doing this event for the veterans, then they can show up from their hearts. Show with true authenticity of who they are. As we all know, when people know that you care, then they care what you know. It helps them to get out of their own way for one.
Back to your point about the sponsorship versus collaboration. Typical sponsorship is I give you $500 and three months from now, you show up at the car show, the golf tournament or the gala and my logo is up on the banner. What I’m talking about is how can we, all of the businesses in the area, how can we collaborate for the three months leading up to the car show or the gala? By the time we get to the gala, we all have already done ten times the business we would have done because we’ve learned to collaborate and support each other, not from sponsorship, but collaboration. There are a lot of different ways that I help people to do that. Not the least of which are Facebook Lives and different ways to get out and promote each other before the event.
What ends up happening is that the event is not the destination. In the case of sponsorship, the event is the destination. It’s the journey that gets you to that destination. That’s so powerful. That’s where you have opportunities to grow, meet more people and do more business. As I’m thinking through this, as you’re talking for the readers of this blog and saying, “If I want to make this transition, leave my job and I want to become the owner of that job, I’m transitioning to something that it’s been sitting in bubbling inside of me as a passion that I want to take out there.” This is a great way to take it out there. It’s not the destination but the journey. It’s one of those situations where you look back and you’ll go, “Look at what happened.” If someone’s going through a transition and they’re saying, “Cami, you figured it out. You already did it. You know how to make it happen on the other side of this quickly and you have tools,” how would they get in touch with you?
I love that you always give out your phone number because that means that you’re very open to helping people and you’re accepting. It’s like the helping of Allstate or something like that where someone’s hands are coming in. You also have a free gift that you’d like to give everybody. Tell us a little bit about that gift.
The free gift is CamiBaker.com/free. When you go there, you’ll get a free copy of my book and also the Seven Keys of Collaboration to Unlock Your Dream Success. I want to make one quick comment about the phone number. Years ago, I was in a room with my mentors. There are 500 people in the room and he gave out his cell phone number. He even wrote it on a big whiteboard. I remember being horrified, “He’s giving in his cell phone number out. Everybody’s going to be calling him.” For years, I saw him do that another 100 times. That very night I said, “Patrick, what are you doing? All these people are going to call you.” He looked at me and smiled so innocently. He said, “Cami, nobody calls us. They don’t call. They’re so afraid that we’re too successful or busy, they’re not worthy of our time or they don’t want to waste our time.” I will challenge out. If you were one of those people who want to make money while you make a difference, you do want to build your real estate or mortgage business, we are available. All you have to do is call.
Cami, I want to say thank you again for joining us and sharing your story. I know you have so much more to share with everybody. I appreciate you taking the time. Hopefully, this has become an a-ha moment for someone to say, “There is a better way for me to go out there and do this.” I’ve been calling it the bridge over troubled waters. Maybe that is the bridge like, “I could do collaboration and that might be the bridge over my troubled water to get me to that other side that’s so green and what I want to passionately be working on.” Hopefully, we’ve made an impact in someone’s life, they will be strong enough and courageous enough to call you and tell you, or call me and tell me, “That was a great interview.”
Thank you for having me. For your audience, when you start thinking about the word, sponsorship, “Who am I going to sponsor this event? They’re asking me to sponsor,” I want you to think in your mind, “I want to collaborate. I’m going to call Jen or Cami to learn how to do that.”
Thank you so much. Everybody, thank you for reading. If this is your first time, welcome to our community. We hope that you enjoyed this episode. I encourage you to give us a great rating, write a review and don’t forget to subscribe. Most importantly, don’t forget to pay this forward and share it with your other friends because you never know who’s going through that same transition from Success to Significance. We’ll catch you next time.
- Mingle To Millions
- Mortgage Lending Mastery – Podcast
- Emerald Peaceful Greenforest
- The Live and Let Live Farm
- Facebook – Cami Baker
- LinkedIn – Cami Baker
- CamiBaker.com/free – 7 Keys of Collaboration to Unlock Resources, Relationships and Revenue!
About Cami Baker
HGTV House Hunters veteran, Top 5% of Realtors and mentored by the best in the real estate industry, Cami Baker has leveraged her creative and innovative ways of seeing opportunity since she was a child. At 8 years old, she was selling gum to other kids for a 500% profit and loan sharking that money for high interest and collateral at 9! Fast forward 40+ years and her lead generating mindset have gotten her in Success from Home magazine, hosting a TV show, being a Radio personality, and speaking hundreds of times to audiences from 10 to 30,000 in attendance.
Cami’s primary focus is assisting real estate professionals to meet and mingle with their ideal clients, recruit top talent, and build brand awareness and loyalty through social responsibility. She says there are three specific skills that 95% of the real estate profession doesn’t understand or leverage, and she’s going to share those with us on today’s show!
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