“Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others.”
Joe Nickelson was raised in North Florida with his six siblings. Although he graduated high school early at the age of 16, his family could not afford to send him to college. Instead, Joe started working as a landscaper — a tough job with long hours, built on sweat.
But Joe was taught at a young age that if you want something in life, you have to work for it. So that’s what he did. And he worked hard.
As the years went by, Joe went from laborer to owner of a landscaping business. That company became lucrative; at its peak, there were multiple locations with an enormous client roster.
During this time, Joe was buying and selling real estate, both for his business and for his personal use. As a business owner, he was shocked to see the poor customer service skills of real estate agents he worked with. Sensing an opportunity (and a new challenge), Joe sold off his stake in the landscaping business and became a Realtor, determined to be the kind of agent he would want to hire.
Joe soon realized how ruthless and cold the real estate business could be. Every time he turned to someone in the industry for advice, he was told to do whatever it takes to one-up his fellow agents and to employ whatever means necessary to make a sale.
Joe left the landscaping company because he was burnt out physically. But this new job was going to not only burn out his body, but his soul. He didn’t want to spend his time in a ruthless, dog-eat-dog environment.
Around this time, a close friend and fellow real estate agent was writing a book. This friend wanted to sell his knowledge of the industry to other agents in book form. The friend asked Joe if he could read his book and offer feedback. Joe read the book and thought it was a good start — but it needed a lot of work.
The two set out to complete this book in their spare time, continuing to struggle as real estate agents. That’s when Joe had a radical idea: What if the book wasn’t for agents, but for clients? What if agents could give the books to clients to help them get through the process of buying and selling property? Handing out a self-published book to potential clients would set Joe apart from other agents. Not only that, but he would be helping people by providing them value upfront, rather than trying to use shady tactics to get them to sign on the dotted line.
Other agents thought he was crazy. “Offering something without the promise of anything in return isn’t how the real estate industry works,” they would say. But Joe didn’t care; he went ahead with his plan.
A short time later, Joe published and distributed his first real estate book. Even he was astonished at how quickly he rose in the industry based solely on using the book. Real estate veterans with decades of seniority were losing sales to him, and Joe was closing deals without having to manipulate anyone. And, to top it all off, Joe no longer had to cold call or randomly knock on doors. Now, clients came to him.
Eventually, Joe was successful enough that he decided to take a break. He took a year off to travel with his wife and two kids, both domestically and internationally. He volunteered. He explored. He learned a lot not only about the world, but about his family — and himself.
When Joe came back with a clear head, he knew that helping people achieve their dreams was what he wanted to do with his life, and there was no better way for him to do that than to get these books into people’s hands. These books help home buyers and sellers achieve their dreams of owning property, and help real estate agents stop using the sometimes-vicious tactics that weigh on their conscience. These books will, quite literally, change people’s lives for the better.
Joe lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife Lydia and their two children, Morgan and Connor. In his free time, Joe enjoys hiking and biking through the country, viewing the art his wife creates, and seeing his kids grow. He derives the most enjoyment from hearing people discuss their passions, which inspires him to pursue his own.