Originally from Athens, GA, Danny Nix, owner and founder of Nix & Associates Real Estate, never set out to become a Realtor. However, after working in a corporate role for several years, a series of events, including Nix meeting his wife, an exhausting schedule that included weekly flights to University of Georgia football games and trips to see his daughter in Florida and an upward mobility ceiling, seemed to naturally guide him in the direction of real estate. Nix shared the story from leaving his steady corporate job and being uncertain about the future to leading a successful real estate firm guided by strong core beliefs and a true desire to do what's best for their customers.
"By the time I met my wife, Carla, I'd been flying back and forth between Georgia, where I worked, and Florida, where my daughter lived," he said. "Add in Georgia football games during the season and I was always on a plane. Carla was the one who really pushed me to move to Florida. My company was also trying to get me down there. Eventually it just made sense. In 2010, I made the move."
After Nix relocated, he continued his consulting job that involved going into under-performing businesses to improve operations, fix profitability issues, and increase morale and customer service. Carla was an employee with the company as well, but left to pursue a career in real estate. She went to work for Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty and eventually became a top producer. With Carla's departure and subsequent happiness and success in real estate, combined with Nix not really seeing a future with his current employer, he made the decision to join his wife as a Realtor and form a team.
"I made that move four years ago," he said. "It was the best decision I've ever made. Carla and I learned a lot working with Coldwell Banker. They were so good to us, but in the fall of 2016, we felt a calling to make a change. We wanted to put ourselves in a position to help even more people. We decided the time was right to start our own real estate firm."
Nix & Associates Real Estate officially opened for business on November 1st, 2016. Even though they left with blessings and encouragement from the owners of Coldwell Banker, Nix remembers being terrified of the unknown and the uneasy feeling of having to walk away from such a strong brand. Nevertheless, he and Carla stepped out on faith and were committed to working hard and pursuing their dreams.
"We hired our first agent, Laura Frantz, in December," he said. "That was a moment where we really felt good about things. Someone who embodied our ideals and produced at a higher level actually chose to come work for us. She believed in us. That meant a lot. Even to this day, when agents select us, it's incredibly humbling."
After powering through some initial challenges that included properly setting up the office and ensuring that the legal boxes were checked, Nix and his wife set out to build an agency centered around the customer and focused on doing the right thing 100% of the time.
"We built a company full of 'how do we get better everyday' type people," he said. "We never do anything that's illegal, immoral or unethical. The only 'C' we care about is the customer. We tell our agents, 'If you're focused on commission, then this is not the company for you'. That came from me asking Carla one day about how much business she did that year. She had no idea, but she could clearly tell me her clients names, their kids names and stories of the people she sold houses to. That's what she cared about. If you focus on the customer and doing what's right, the Lord will provide."
In addition to focusing on the customer and doing what's right, Nix's agents are required to get involved in some type of philanthropy. A focus of the firm has always been on giving back to the community. Nix takes it a step further by stressing to his agents that he doesn't want them using their volunteer time to get business. Whether it's helping battered women or feeding the homeless, he wants his agents solely focused on community service without ulterior motives.
Nix shared some lessons learned and what he enjoys most about being a business owner. "Not everybody listens," he said with a laugh. "It's true, but more important than that is to never forget your family as you're growing your business. You have to make time for them and put boundaries in place to be there for your kids and spouse. Life is not all about work. We give our agents the best ability to succeed, but also encourage them to focus on their home life. When it comes to what I love most about owning and running a business, it's definitely watching our agents succeed and achieve the goals they never thought they could. I remember having people, with my previous employer, that never made more than $30,000 per year trust me and listen to me, and then would eventually make $70,000 per year. Watching those that don’t feel they’re adequate enough to make it succeed is what's truly rewarding."
Looking ahead, Nix remains steadfast on empowering his agents and helping them achieve their goals. He wants to keep the number of agents to 24 per location to ensure he still knows more than just their names. He wants to know their families, how they're feeling and what makes them tick. As a fan of Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World and star of The Profit, Nix lives by the emphasis Lemonis places on having the right people and the right processes in place. Nix won't consider starting a new agency in an area because of what's happening there. He'd rather start an agency with the right person regardless of where it's at. While the focus is on maintaining a boutique agency, Nix does have a goal to one day do a half billion in sales in one year.
What advice does Nix have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "I’ve always believed that you have to be humble," he said. "When, according to the MLS, you’ve done the 13th most production in your second year and you’re ahead of large brand names, you can sometimes get that 'look at us' mentality. It's important to resist that and to stay humble. It's also equally as important to stay consistent and to not relax. Tim Tebow once said, 'No one will out work me today'. That's the mentality you need to have. If there's a Realtor, or someone you compete with in your industry, out there working harder than you, you'll lose that opportunity. We will be steadfast and look forward to great things in the future."