In football and in business, timing matters. When former college quarterback Drew Hedrick began selling real estate in Billings in late 2008, the nation was in the midst of the longest and deepest recession since the Great Depression.
“I got in at the worst possible time,” said Hedrick, who is with Century 21 Hometown Brokers. “At the same time, I got a chance to start slow and learn the business and learn what it takes to be successful. When you’ve got to spend a few years grinding it out, it teaches you how to work connections.”
Hendrick knew he had to put in the time to succeed.
“For the first year I would work and train at Century 21 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. before leaving to work a retail job from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m., five days a week. On weekends I would work eight-hour shifts both Saturday and Sunday for a combined weekly total of around 80 to 85 hours.”
Hedrick said he weathered the lean times by keeping his expenses low. “I’m a single guy and I didn’t have any college debt, so it didn’t take much to live on.”
Before long, that hard work started paying off.
“I started getting some good referrals from some great clients,” said Hedrick, who said he enjoys the service side of real estate. “The opportunity to get out what you put in is what drew me to the business.”
In 2011 Hedrick was one of Century 21’s top 50 producers in the five-state region and was awarded a “Masters Ruby” award for volume and transactions.
“Over the last two years, I have continued to grow and diversify my business into a nearly 100 percent repeat and referral based clientele,” he said.
Hedrick played quarterback for the University of Montana after graduating from Senior High. After two years at UM, he transferred to Rocky Mountain College, where he completed his college career.
Describe how you got where you are in your work today: Besides selling real estate, I also own a business that provides certified market value evaluations for local banks. I am a full-time football coach at Senior High, and I am the vice president of the Billings Petroleum Club, and am in the process of publishing a photography book about Yellowstone National Park. In short, I got where I am in my work by large amounts of hard work and the belief in excellent customer service.
What’s the toughest challenge that you have faced in your business? Building the trust of my clients and colleagues through a historically difficult time in the real estate market was a challenge. As a 25-year-old “kid,” trust and perceived legitimacy are hard to gain in business. For the most part, the toughest challenge was just doing whatever it took to stay in business, whether it was working nights or doing work that no one else would do.
What did you learn from that challenge? Respect is earned, not given. There is no shortcut to long-term success.
What’s the best business advice you have received? Trade short-term wealth for long-term success.
Who gave you that advice? Mark Dawson.
Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: I would like to help less-fortunate high school kids get degrees by giving guidance and support.
Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? In real estate I measure my success by the happiness and success of my clients. In my coaching career, I measure my success by the number of kids that I can positively influence on a day-to-day basis.
Which living person do you most admire? My mother.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My relationships with friends and family.
I’m happiest when I’m… all alone on a summer evening making long casts to rising trout.