As I officially relaunch the podcast under the new moniker, “The Acting Realtor” podcast, I have decided to replay several key episodes in order to get any new listeners up to speed on where we have been on this journey. I encourage any long time listeners to also re-listen and share the podcast with anyone you know trying to balance their day job while pursuing their dream job.
In this episode of “The Acting Realtor” Podcast, I bring you along with me to experience what it’s like to be a Realtor by day and a rock-star by night. Doing something you love is not always glamorous, which is why it is important to be authentic and generous no matter what. By doing so, you can live a pretty rewarding life.
It’s another Friday night, and I am performing at a Wine Bar in the small town of Phoenixville. I have been performing as a musician for half of my life but in the last few years it has really started to become a profession for me. I had always wanted to be a rockstar and spent much of my late teens and early 20s writing music and playing in a band with my brothers. It was purely the love of music that drove us, since we rarely made a dime playing all original songs. But now I spend most of my time performing covers and getting paid. I guess a younger me would’ve called this version of me a sellout. Call me whatever you want but I’m at a point now where playing 3-4 gigs a month, means buying two months’ worth of groceries for my family of four.
When I first started in Real Estate, I wrestled with the idea of getting a part time job to help in the lean months. But the only jobs that would allow me to invest the time and mental capacity necessary to build a real estate business would have to be in the retail end of the things. I applied at Starbucks and actually got offered a job, but when I calculated the hours and take home pay, I realized that if I worked an additional 20 hours a week, most of which would keep me away from kids, I would take home less money than playing one gig for 4-5 hours of my time while my kids were in bed. Seems like easy math to this more cynical, but ultimately wiser present-day version of me.
It all started when I began joining my dad on some of his solo gigs nearly a decade ago. Originally he would throw me a few bones to help him carry equipment and play behind him while he did his thing but that gradually led to him allowing me to do a song here and there. Ultimately we became a father/son duo, with me now accounting for 50% of the material on a given night. We quickly began to make the rounds of the local restaurant and bar scene and have since developed a solid reputation. At first this was a fun outlet and a way to make some extra “jingos” as my dad says. But once I decided to leave my fulltime job, I began to rely more heavily on the income that these gigs provided. As a result, I decided to aggressively pursue additional opportunities, which included doing some solo gigs on top of the gigs that I was doing with my dad.
That brings you up to speed to where I am now, unloading my gear on a chilly October night in the revitalized town of Phoenixville. Like many small towns, parking is hard to come by, especially when you consider how many people swarm to what’s become a hub of breweries, eateries, live entertainment, and millennials. For a musician, unloading is a nightmare. I have the choice of double-parking with my fourways on in front of the venue and tuning out the stream of carhorns and profanity as I feverishly throw my gear onto the sidewalk, or as instructed by the staff of the venue, I can pull up a little back street behind the venue, with fourways flashing, and make multiple trips in order to lug my gear about a block to the front door. Amid the passersby and the occasional skateboarder I march methodically back and forth until the last of my gear is inside before heading to find a safe and free parking space for my 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis. This in and of itself proves challenging, even when willing to walk several blocks back the venue.
It was getting late so I decided to bite the bullet and pull into one of the paid parking lots, which would diminish my take home pay by $8 but I wasn’t in the mood to drive around for 10 minutes. Next comes the set up of my PA, laptop, mic and guitar. I have this down to a science and usually am ready to roll in about 20 minutes. When the clock strikes 8pm I introduce myself to the few folks who have made their way into the little store front-turned wine bar. I do my best to engage the audience but understandably they are there to drink, eat and socialize, not make a new musician friend. For the next three hours I strum away on my guitar while wailing in my, as some describe, Mercury-like tenor and vibrato, enjoying an occasional glance or clap of appreciation from this overtly hipster crowd.
The most uncomfortable part of these gigs is the built-in breaks. My time slot is 8-11 with two 15 minute breaks. While I enjoy the opportunity to chug some water and catch my breath, the awkward social aspect comes to the fore. Some nights I have some friends in the audience, so this time flies by as I extend some gratitude for their attendance, but not on this night. I was truly flying solo. I sat in a comfortable leather chair and watched the crowd from afar. I wasn’t feeling the energy to go up to strangers and chat. I feel like sometimes it can be perceived as fishing for compliments when a performer interrupts a conversation among friends. So there I sit, tired yet gearing up for the 2nd and 3rd sets.
During the second break, I noticed that a space had opened up right in front of the venue so I raced to my car to hopefully secure a spot that would make my teardown and load up a little but easier, but alas, by the time I got back the space had been taken, though I was able to find one a bit closer, which ultimately saved me $3 from the paid parking lot. By the end of the night, I had won over a few folks with my repertoire and charisma. One gent in particular made a point to come up to me while I was breaking down my equipment to compliment my performance. He also asked if the staff had cut my set short since I was ending at 11pm. I guess he thought I would play until closing but I informed him that they had only scheduled me until 11pm. I appreciated the fact that he was a little disappointed that I was done for the night, though I was more than happy to be heading home.
Having missed out the greatest parking space in the world, I once again pulled my car around to the back street, put my fourways on and began lugging my equipment to “Judy the Boat Car.” A name my wife came up with which somehow accurately reflects the vehicle’s aura. Speaking of names, my wife also gave me the nickname “One Trip Geoffy” in reference to desire of limiting my trips from car to house when bringing in the aforementioned groceries this gig ultimately would pay for. It only made sense to apply the same principle when making the trek from winebar to boatcar. Right before my last trip I completed the always enjoyable task of having to collect my wages for the evening. And with that, I grabbed the last few items, excused myself through the door and headed to my car for the ride home.
A seemingly uneventful night I thought, until I noticed that a police car was now parked alongside “Judy.” As I approached my car, I did my best to look in need of a little sympathy. Here I was with both hands full and bags slung over both shoulders limbering a block, uphill by the way, to my 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis called “Judy the Boatcar.” Throw in a violin, ratty jeffcap, and some fingerless gloves, and I thought for sure the police officer would let me slide. Thankfully, he realized that I was only doing what I was told by the local establishment and bid me adieu without a second thought. Crisis averted and now I was ready to make my trip home.
You would think that after singing for three hours that I would be tired of it, but singing is my favorite thing to do. I pulled into my parking spot and headed for my front door just before the clock struck midnight and I turned from rockstar back into realtor. I was greeted by darkness and my cats, a typical occurrence on nights like these. I dropped everything and got ready for bed. Another successful use of my God-given talents to provide for my family, all while my kids slept safe and sound. Such is life for me, just a Real Person trying to meet Real Needs.