Alicia Shepherd | On Nucleus, KW Commercial and Building a 7 Figure Business

Creating a Legacy in Commercial Real Estate with KW Realty

Alicia is a true Silicon Beach specialist, tapped in at a cellular level to the conditions and community members that daily determine the direction of the market. In 2017 Shepherd traded more commercial real estate assets in Venice than any other single agent, an achievement created from her commitment to being an authentic market specialist. Her focus on understanding the pressures of Venice, and thorough market knowledge, arm her and her clients with a priceless pulse on what’s next in the Venice market. Through creative marketing approaches, strategic pricing, and a thorough understanding of the marketplace, Alicia creates successful platforms that work in her clients’ best interest to create a market and maximize on their returns. 

Alicia is a known community member, acting on various boards and councils, and is a top leader in Westside Commercial real estate, as KW Santa Monica’s Commercial Director. Alicia offers a specialization in an understanding of development, not only from the land owners position, but as an active community member with an astute understanding of “plausible” development throughout the Westside. Her creative, successful, and results driven team offer a brand of commercial real estate service that always keeps the client’s benefit the focus. With fresh marketing platforms paired with aggressive “in the streets” marketing, the team keeps their transactions closing at the peak of what the market has to offer. This practice of business over Shepherd’s career has participated on over 100 transactions totalling over $412 Million in sales. Here is her success journey!

Tell our readers about your journey into commercial real estate? 

My background, oddly enough, came from the music industry. I got to a point where there was compression in that industry, and it was becoming harder and harder to be a high net earner without being an influencer on social media. That’s when I realized I wanted to change industries. 

About fifteen years, I got into commercial real estate versus an operations team member for a commercial real estate team, and as I got into that role, I loved it, I was very passionate about the opportunities that commercial real estate creates for investors and their families, and I really got passionate about the generational wealth that it can create, not only for the agents who work in commercial real estate, but the clients that we touch and influence and impact. 

After about a year and a half in that role, I decided I was going to become an agent. I’ve been practicing commercial real estate as an agent for fourteen years now, and all things in my life, all of my businesses all of my leadership roles, everything is tethered to a really big passion around making the commercial real estate industry, a more inclusive environment for the agent, the investor and the families.

Have you had any type of education around commercial real estate? Or was it more just getting into it and then learning from there.

I jumped in and learned following mentors, I learned following different agents that I thought had really successful paths I wanted to mimic and match and I unfortunately was learning at the client’s expense, because our industry is one that does not have any formal training. Nobody wanted to slow down and create authentic training so that a commercial real estate agent could effectively and authentically understand the process before working with clients, and so over time as I got more seasoned that led to one of my companies being a commercial real estate training company called Nucleus that’s focused on transparent training for commercial real estate practitioners.

Tell us more about Nucleus ; your commercial real estate training.

It’s designed to teach you as a commercial estate agent, let’s say you’re brand new and just got your license, it teaches you the ins and outs of commercial real estate across different product types, the financial understanding of how to assess investment real estate, how to work with the different finance and leverage tools that are inside commercial real estate, and then alongside that, it also teaches you how to have the sales conversions you need to have and build the structures in your business you’re going to need to be able to grow and thrive inside the commercial real estate industry.

We’re looking to become the largest community of commercial practitioners that intend to change the industry.

Tell us about a challenge that you had surrounded either recently because of this, or just in general?

Well, I’m a mom — before covid happened I was a mom to one small child and even working in commercial real estate, just to give you some perspective, the industry is about 13% women, it’s very low, so it’s very male dominated. When I had my son, I didn’t take downtime, I didn’t protect my family, I wasn’t really in a position career wise yet where I could slow down and be a mom before I was in an agent because I was still building my business, and our industry is not necessarily designed for women, and so that was a bit of a struggle.

Then fast forward during COVID my husband and I got pregnant with triplets, so we now have triplet girls alongside that are twenty months old alongside our son who is almost six, and I think probably one of the biggest challenges is inside my industry, really holding a standard around what being a really powerful female entrepreneur in the commercial industry looks like while being the mom, wife, friend, and family member that I want to be.

Why did you decide to jump into commercial real estate?

I started on an admin job with a commercial real estate agent and I got really passionate about that, I was never interested in open houses, I don’t want to pick out counters and tile, I don’t want to pick paint colors and Sage a house, none of that’s exciting to me, what is exciting to me is creating wealth, and what’s most exciting to me is helping families that haven’t had access to wealth, understand what that journey looks like and how they too can do it. 

Commercial real estate for me, was an opportunity to invite more equity to the table for social groups that haven’t had it. I’m at Keller Williams, which is the largest real estate company in the world, but we have a fairly young commercial division, and I picked that because the culture of the company is in alignment with my values of where I believe the commercial real estate industry needs to go.

What have you noticed in the industry that has shifted, or that people are going more into purchasing in terms of locations and type of real estate?

It’s interesting. All parts of real estate are always good, no matter what market you’re in, there are waves for sure, but we haven’t seen on the commercial side, at least we didn’t see COVID make any massive deep cuts because investors were pretty educated about how to navigate a market like that, we’ve had harder shifts than this. 

I think for tenants COVID was a pretty rough wave, but we’re coming out of that, we’re seeing a lot of new businesses starting to position and be ready to take over some markets that maybe are ready for more influence, and so that’s a piece in the real estate market, there’s always opportunity, especially in the commercial space. 

Now when it comes to having mentors in the industry, did you anyone that guided you in the space?

Gary Keller is a massive mentor for me, I never coached with him directly, but I read all of his books, I’d follow every class he ever taught, and even when I was at another firm, I followed what he did, because I think he is masterful and really smart at knowing how to create models and systems that allow you to build a scalable business that go that’s unlimited in its ability. As I got more into commercial real estate and came back to Keller Williams, Joe Williams was someone who I really, I looked at his model of becoming a developer alongside being the broker, and that’s probably the model I’m mentoring under right now, and I think is really interesting. And then books, I’m always reading, I read anywhere from three to four books a month just because that’s where we grow and that’s where we find mentorship.

What would you say was a book that really helped you in the real estate space that can probably facilitate other realtors?

My number one choice would be the “Millionaire real estate agent” also called the MREA, that one for me is a textbook for my business and businesses that I build. Right now I’m reading “Six thinking hats” by Edward DeBono, and that one’s pretty interesting, I’m liking that right now.

Now throughout your journey, what has remained the one thing that you would give yourself as advice or other women in the industry?

There’s nothing that’s a no — it’s just the how. I think sometimes we bring the limiting belief into the room that there’s not space for us to play or that there’s no opportunity or that someone’s going to make a judgment or assessment that we don’t earn a spot in the room. More times than not, we give them the bandwidth to make that judgment because we allowed it first. 

And so if we can go in the room understanding that our spot is earned, there are no dues due. And everything’s even then our natural talents go to play for us, and, and we’ve got some unfair advantages probably at times that our male colleagues don’t have, like, if I walk into a room, I compete for commercial real estate business, a hundred people, only thirteen are likely to be women, and so that right off the bat, I’ve got something that differentiates me, and that gives me remembrance, that gives me a competitive edge, and I can look at that as a disadvantage or I can position myself and say, that’s actually my superpower.

When it comes to how you developed your grit and resilience in the industry, I know it’s super cutthroat industry the commercial space, especially. So how does that look like for you?

It’s a lot of work on mindset and asking for help seeking out growth opportunities. And so I think you grit’s kind of a choice, we either have it or we don’t, there’s a book called “Grit” by Angela Duckworth, it really breaks down the science of people who are, or are not gritty, and I think if you can first acknowledge, do I have grit or not, then the next step is how do I deploy whatever strengths I bring to the table around it? 

I do have grit, there were times I had to actually like slow myself down to learn more before I just tried to dig in with grit, and so books and podcasts and events like any training or reading or growth opportunity, I could get my hands on for the last decade I have, that’s empowered me to never be at a loss for how to learn, and how to do what I need to do.

When it comes to your growth plan, so we look at a bigger vision and it could be something you want to do in your business in the next five years — what does that look like for you?

Kind of threefold, Nucleus, my training company, we’re working on making it a much larger national training platform for anyone interested in commercial real estate with KW. I’m one of the two executive leaders for KW commercial, and we’re really looking at growing to be the most comprehensive commercial real estate experience for entrepreneurs in the nation. That’s a project over the next five years, we’re going to transform the face and name of who KW commercial is, and we’re really excited about that. And then the third is personally, my husband and I right now are diving into a development project to develop a wine and artistry destination in central Texas.

Now on success, what does it represent to you having attain so much success internally and also externally in your daily life?

Internally, it looks like going to bed every night with a peaceful heart, knowing that I showed up as who I’m designed to show up as in this world, and that goes in the order of, for myself, for my family, with my higher being and then with my colleagues, but I mean, for me, the hierarchy is God, family and then business, and so that internal piece is how I know if I’m living that out or not. 

Externally, it looks like doing what I said I was going to do, so I’m very visible and vocal with the goals that I set and I share them so that I have accountability both with myself and with others around what I say I’m going to do.

How do you find and or keep your inner balance?

Find it, I don’t know about find, but I keep it by planning for it. So like on my calendar before I start the year, I plan all my vacations and trips and downtime and refill time for the year, I plan all of my growth for the year, so like I know in December the books that I’m going to read for the next 12 months, and I leave one open for each month I’ll tap two books though, so 24 books, I go into the year knowing what those books are and I pre-order them and I’m ready to go. I schedule time with a trainer, I just plan it, I know I want to write a thank you note every week to somebody to just show gratitude, so that’s on my calendar and on my schedule every week and when it shows up I do it. So I book it and I think maybe that’s how I make space for it. I just plan it, I book it as if it’s an appointment and then it happens.

What do you have in terms of coming up in the next few months? Something like a project that we can talk about that is news worthy?

So I’m a business coach for commercial real estate agents, I work with maps coaching, coming up in the fourth quarter of this year, actually it’s the end of the third quarter and the fourth quarter, I’m running a coaching series, that’s called “Seven Figures in 90 days”, I have 40 slots available, And in that we, in a ninety day period, go get seven figures worth of business for the agents that are like each agent gets seven figures of business built up in their pipeline, we meet daily in a group setting and I coach them through it.

The enrolment is open! Register here.

Follow @Nucleus on Facebook.

Follow @AliciaShepherd on Instagram here.

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