Dean is a well sought after speaker, coach, and entrepreneur in the fields of Digital Marketing and Real Estate. He is the CEO of Digital Muse and founder of two Real Estate companies, Xavier Dean Realty, and Dean Aguilar Group. Through his endeavors, Dean has helped many entrepreneurs elevate their skills to reach new heights in their business. Dean braved the 2008 economic collapse that threatened to destroy his career and emerged even better and higher than before. As a result of his tenaciousness and commitment to self-improvement, Dean is a mentor to CEOs whose total revenue exceeds $400 million per year in annual sales. I wanted to know how this serial entrepreneur made it through such a rough time, so I interviewed him, and this is what I came up with.
Getting In, Through and out of the Great Recession
Describing how it was owning a business in 2008, Dean says it was like watching a movie. There was no way anything could make sense any longer. People were losing companies, homes, and life savings. The situation with Dean and his businesses was no different. “It was during the economic meltdown that we went through the worst financial crisis in our business,” Dean recalls. Like many other people in business at the time, Dean ignored all the visible warning signs. Even when authoritative figures in the industry speculated an imminent fall, it was business as usual, but eventually, he paid the price. In the process, Dean’s real estate business laid off 90% of its employees. “I liquidated assets, lost 250k in cash trying to keep it afloat, two homes, one I lost to foreclosure,” Dean says. It was that bad. In the end, his company had to restructure and pivot everything they did.
When things got from worse to worst, Dean decided to leave the industry. At the back of his mind, Dean had always wanted to rebuild his life, and an opportunity had come along. He, however, did not wholly leave his business ways. “I made sure that all my contacts and partners were solidified if and when I decided to relaunch,” Dean says. “I kept my license active and attended events and training on short sales even when I no longer sold in the “new” market. I took my database and made sure that I hired a company (at low dirt prices) to still follow up monthly on the market,” he adds. While this was happening on the one hand, on the other, he had over 10,000 people in his database, and he was still their advisor even though he wasn’t practicing.
Learning Valuable Lessons and Applying Them to Recoup Losses
One of the most valuable lessons Dean learned was that since history repeats itself every ten years or so, recurring problems have recurring solutions. So he did what should be done after the effects of a recession. When Dean and his team saw that commissions were being compressed, they pivoted and stacked their value and presentations. They came up with case studies on the differences in hiring a discount agent and screamed at the rooftops in every meeting we had. When they saw the buyer companies gain speed, they came up with their programs for presentations. Staying ahead of the trends is what catapulted Dean’s business. “I see far too many people complaining and even worse, closing a blind eye to what’s going around them. They will eventually be left behind,” he advises.
In finishing, Dean says that by learning how to control the desire for more, a virtue he learned during the recession, has been an excellent resource for his business even through the hard times. “During the time leading up to the recession, it was a frenzy of deals and money coming into the business. While I never took part in any manipulation as did crooked agents and lenders, I survived through ingenuity and living lean,” Dean summarizes.