Starting from Scratch: It’s not fun being new in town—unless you have the adventurous spirit of Florida native Erika Mlachak, who relocated to Phoenix and quickly developed a profitable business.
Another big move: After just 18 months in Phoenix, a Los Angeles developer offered her an appealing job handling new-condominium sales. Her secret: learning all there is to know about the local area and taking note of how other successful practitioners there are getting ahead. "As I gained knowledge, I was able to establish myself as a local expert in a place where, just a short time before, I was completely unfamiliar and unknown," Mlachak says. She formed a strong rapport with buyers by giving them her cell-phone number and keeping them updated on construction delays. "I found that often I was acting as a shoulder for them to lean on," Mlachak says. She branched off on her own in 2007 and last year closed $6.74 million in sales.
Going green: Mlachak holds green real estate seminars to teach prospects about everything from indoor air quality to bamboo flooring.