Female Founder: (March) Cindy Cody

On the first Tuesday of every month, we’ll announce a new Female Founder, including a video interview of them sharing their business story. Want to be featured as a Female Founder? Contact Heather Hutchings for more details. The Female Founders Program would not be possible without our Title Sponsor, Scotiabank.

To learn a little more about the Scotiabank Women Initiative, and why they’ve chosen to sponsor this program, see the video below.

The next Female Founder we’re featuring is Cindy Cody, Business Owner/Entrepreneur, Leader of The Cindy Cody Team, RE/MAX. 

With a sparkling personality and a zest for life, Cindy Cody has enjoyed success in the Real Estate industry that many aspire to achieve. Cindy prides herself in forming strong, lasting relationships based on honesty and integrity, not just with her family, but also with her clients and colleagues. Those who know Cindy are enthusiastic about referring her to others and continually seek her expertise. Cindy has been selling Residential and Investment Real Estate in the Kitchener/Waterloo and surrounding area for over 30 years. She is a highly respected individual in our area and if she says she’ll do something “SHE DOES IT”! She is true to her word.

To learn more about Cindy and her journey as a Female Founder, watch the interview below (or read the written format).

Tell us a little bit about your business.

I’m an entrepreneur like many of you out there and when I first got into the business 38 years ago… I was all excited to go help buyers and sellers, lots to learn lots of hard hours and lots of mistakes. I grew over the years into a business owner, a true entrepreneur and business owner and have built one of the top 50 teams in Canada.

What are some of the highlights of your entrepreneurial journey?

Along the journey I was a young mom and wanted to make a living and a life for my girls and our family on my own – I only had a certain education and decided that I could make an income to the level of how hard I would work and try to find an industry where it didn’t need a whole lot of schooling to start up but I knew I would put the effort in thus I got my real estate license.

I worked very hard for the first third of my career just by helping people buy and sell homes and learning and then I thought took entrepreneurial courses and coaching and understood that I actually owned a business if I chose not just being a real estate agent which I loved being, but you could also run a successful business and still help clientele and I actually really gravitated to that.

I built a team and along with that obviously there’s lots of learning; I learned how to manage people, I learned how to grow a business, I learned a lot by trial and error, I learned a lot about myself, and I found many ways in taking time to grow the business itself that I can actually help the client better than if I work totally on my own, which I’m very happy about.

What are some of your accomplishments?

Accomplishments over the years for me, I think I’ve built a good life for my family – we have a super happy team that have good businesses running. I know the level of service we provide the clientele that hire us and I’m at a nice point in my business now. I choose which parts of the business I love because we have a full team so when clients hire me and the team we all have our own unique things that we love to do in the business the most or specialize in, and we can better help the client and we enjoy it as well, so that’s fun.

What are some of the challenges that your business faced?

I think over the decades the main thing I find in helping challenges is just really getting skilled in having a strong mind – taking courses, reading, practicing, but if you’re mind is sharp any challenge you can get through, get over succeed at, delete from your business right whatever it is and then calmly you can go into what’s working & what’s not working.

Sometimes you have to reach out to other entrepreneurs in the same industry, other successful entrepreneurs saying, “hey have you ever dealt with this before? Could you give me some advice?”

I’m part of many chat groups that we discuss issues, we discuss new programs, apps, situations, people, you know all different things and I think it’s good to hear a number of answers and trial and error then you jump back in and try something new and sometimes you succeed and sometimes you run into another little stumbling block, but I think if your heart’s in the right place, you’re out there to help people number one, then rest it’ll all figure out.

What are some of the challenges your business faced during the pandemic?

So, the conversation is interesting, in real estate and running the business it was scary at the beginning and our business basically shut down immediately or pretty immediately. Everyone was scared, everyone was fearful of going into homes, homeowners did not want people in their homes, legally we had lots of documents, we needed to have buyers and sellers sign and obviously we set up sanitation little stations in the homes that we had listed.

So, being an entrepreneur and self-employed and a self-employed team business for self team the income kind of did the same thing right? It was an interesting time I’d say did it last like six months to nine months you know there’s a rough edge around those months, but people really got back to “I still want to sell” and “I still want to buy,” and we can put up with gloves or sanitizer and then obviously we’re totally back to normal now, and we don’t have issues anymore and I think the general public is used to washing their hands more and being cautious more.

Do you prefer the older or newer real estate market?

There’s no black and white answer there. I’d say many things were much harder back then because we didn’t have electronic and programs and things to help us. Many of us experienced agents have become much more like advisors now, which I love. Access to homes is easier now because you don’t have to pick up as many keys, etc. And the flow of what’s available, what’s sold like coming on and off quickly is interesting and real estate is much different. The structures are the same but purchasing homes and investing in real estate is much different; prices are much different, interest rates go up and down all the time, some rules are different especially around investors and investing. So, I’d say there’s no black or white I’d say in today’s standards I think the industry tries to keep improving.

Social media and different things around us don’t ask real estate professionals should we have this? Is this good for you? So, sometimes you know it’s extra work for us, sometimes there is a benefit to it, sometimes not. So, I guess as a business owner that is kind of the decisions, I have to make along the way like are we putting our money where it’s best for the client and for the business as well right?

What strategies do you use to grow your business?

Regarding growing the business, I think are a number of things. I’d say very early in my career I hired a strategic coach, and what this did for me was taught me how to be a true entrepreneur and how to build a business.

The other thing is I’m a huge relationship woman, I love one-on-one with people, I love speaking to groups, I love connection, I love being an advisor for my clients. Many of my clients are friends now right so relationships in being an entrepreneur you never can go wrong.

I know the social media age now many younger agents they try to have real relationships on social media and I think they do with some people right and I’m on social media as well, but I think it’s a different relationship and it grows differently once you meet in-person and once you start giving back to others and not always just charity it’s like how can I help you with your business? How can you get a little deeper with everyone, and I think that’s the whole answer to life right the deeper we can get with each other and even us as entrepreneurs how can we share, how can we help, how can we learn, and I think the growth the coaching trial and error, but always knowing okay what’s working? What isn’t?

I love building a structure for the business you know what happens when and we keep refining that for us and for the client right. So, there’s many aspects, but I’d say overall growing the business, knowing what isn’t working – correcting it, and relationships and getting coached, those are my three things.

How do you define success?

I think success is different for each of us. I know for me it’s family. We have a beautiful family, a happy family, a connected family, a healthy family. I’m blessed we have a happy team, a successful team, a caring team, I get to choose in my business what I love to do most right, and we live in Canada. I think we’re all pretty lucky to be here and we’re eating and breathing and the sun shining, and we all can we have so many opportunities that we have freedom and choice. I think that’s success.

What is your strategy to build teams and recruit talent?

I would say number one is referrals. I like to reach out in real estate to the managers at our office because they already know – maybe a couple good candidates that are thinking of joining a team, the managers likely would know how motivated those individuals are or what their work ethic is like. I think referrals or referrals even from clients you know that say hey I’ve got this great girl that’s you know very energetic, etc.

I think referrals for me over the years, I’ve even have had agents from out-of-town respect my business that have asked to have sent agents my way that have moved from different cities saying: “Cindy I think they would be great on your team.”

I had a few people search out our brand “The Cindy Cody team” and have searched out for things we do and reviews and different things. So, once you have a few individuals I find that awesome and I’m sure they are awesome anyhow, but related to real estate then I like to do their personality tests next to make sure that that’s aligned with our profession right and very important. I’ve hired a few wrong people and not wrong people, but they in my opinion were in the wrong profession. Then once we get them on board if we hire people, I like to have the “happy bus”, so I like a team that respects each other is happy all our mindsets are like clients we’re all willing to help each other grow together so that has to be a fit and sometimes you don’t know that until you have someone on board and you know are working.

What are some of the benefits of establishing your business in the Waterloo Region?

Waterloo Region is great. So, establishing a business here I can truthfully say to people I love living here; it’s clean, its family orientated, the downtown hubs are kind of becoming a “Mini Toronto” if you can say that. The transportation is fabulous now and things seem to be just getting better and better and there’s still wonderful nooks, crannies, subdivisions all over that you don’t have to live right central, but I think there’s lots of good opportunities for sports, for the arts here, for traveling quickly back and forth to the GTA. Many awesome restaurants, amenities, like anything you need is here, support, great hospitals right, but I find there’s a beautiful healthy vibe to the KW region.

What inspires you?

That’s easy. Do you know what inspires me? I love laughter, I love laughing, I love hearing other people laugh, I love making other people laugh. I’m kind of funny sometimes. I love seeing people happy, my family, the team, clients, strangers, other entrepreneurs. I love seeing people happy, I love making people happy, I love seeing people grow, I love seeing people be open to grow. I love when people ask questions because they have a thirst for knowledge.

What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

So, aspiring business owners, entrepreneurs, basically the three things again: ask others, have a sit down, and have lunch or coffee with other successful entrepreneurs in the business that you’re considering, and maybe several people. Once you do your personality tests make sure that who you are as a human being, not who you think you are, but you know these personality tests that show so much – see if they relate to the industry that you want to jump into, and then align yourself with others; a good team, mentorship, company, whatever it is. Align yourself with awesome people and an awesome support structure for growth.

What inspires you?

My kids are an inspiration I just want to make them proud, and I want to set a good example for them. I have two boys, so you know I want them to grow up with a strong independent female role model. My team are such a source of inspiration to me they are such an incredibly talented group of creatives and their commitment to their craft and their passion and enthusiasm it’s contagious. I learn from them every single day and I love it and I love seeing them succeed so seeing them kind of happy and proud of the work that they’re producing and feeling that I have in some way maybe contributed to that or helped them to get their work to that point that they’re really excited about it. I find that really rewarding.

What are some of your audacious goals?

One big goal we have for our team…Our prices are Kitchener-Waterloo prices here not Toronto/Vancouver prices. We are currently in the top 50 teams in Canada for our size of team, which we’re very honored. We would like to move that needle up to the top 10 so that’s our team goal. Our other goal is always to have a happy thriving bus of growth, but yeah, the Cindy Cody team and I have a pristine brand in the KW region, very reputable. I’m very proud of that.

We care, that is going to continue and hopefully we can move that needle up.

What’s your view on the housing crisis?

Housing crisis is a big topic and I’m not a politician or excellent at the topic, but I’ll give you my two cents. We do need more homes period, any size up spread out, spread them up, whatever needs to happen to make that happen. I find a lot of it probably is rules, regulations, permits because I believe there’s space in many communities where building can happen, and I believe there’s enough builders out there that don’t mind building and making profit.

You know the one thing that I heard is that the construction workers in that I believe, there’s a shortage a huge shortage of that, so you know if you cleared the road for rules, regulations, zoning all of that then you had builders that actually would agree to purchase lands or purchase properties to you build on or change the size or what the current structure looks like you still need that workforce to actually do the labor to make it happen. Again, I’m not sure, but what are the rules in regulations again at bringing or I don’t know the answer for that, but I’d say that would be one place for the government to look – how can we double the workforce or whatever is needed?

I find a lot of people say how’s the market Cindy? When will this all you know when are things going to be different? And we need more housing, so like in KW if you have 10 buyers and two properties available that’s a crisis like you know there’s not enough property right so there actually has to be enough property and I’m the one to help people sell and buy, so I’ll leave that up to the experts.

Where can we find out more about you?

Codygroup.ca is our website, and my email is Sold@cindycody.ca. Our main number is 519-746-5136. We are all on Instagram, and other social media as well.

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.