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Exploring Life & Business with Shannen El-Qasem of 33 Realty| Shannennabih

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shannen El-Qasem. 

Hi Shannen, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My life’s mission is to live freely and creatively. Showing other people they can do the same! 

I truly believe we all are being guided towards our destiny, and when we set our intentions, open our minds and let things flow to us we get all the answers we need. 

I was torn between staying in my hometown of Rutland, Massachusetts, or taking a leap and moving to a completely new city (San Diego). Either way, I had my mind set on finding a way of pursuing real estate and art. I took my exam in MA and failed 3 times by ONE question each time! All while simultaneously applying for jobs in SD. The same day I failed my last attempt at the exam, I booked a flight to San Diego to visit; within one day of that, I received a job offer working with real estate investors. On my first day visiting, I also was told I was accepted for an apartment I had randomly applied for. Wow, looks like I was moving. I packed my car, and within a week of returning home, I was off to start my journey on the west coast. 

I worked my way up and slowly learned the ins and outs of real estate development. Starting from running errands for developers, assisting in cleaning units for tenant move-ins, staging apartments for interior designers, running marketing strategies for different real estate brokers, photography and videography services, you name it I did it no task was too big or too small. 

These opportunities allowed me connect with more and more developers, growing to bigger projects. I had the chance to develop, curate the tenants, and manage the marketing/ PR strategies for different projects including Old Town San Diego’s first food hall: Old Town Urban Market. With this opportunity, I also learned so extensively the ins and outs of many different sides of business. As an agent, I learned so much about investing, developing, and managing assets both in residential and commercial real estate. I was blessed with an amazing mentor along the way that continues to teach me. The past two years I was able to work my way up to director of operations and passed my real estate exam (on the first try this time haha). As for my art dreams I was slowly building a photography portfolio just for the joy of doing not knowing it would slowly form into a business of its own. 

I can proudly now say I own not one but two businesses doing what I love, Real Estate and creating Art! 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spiral for a couple months with anxiety and worry, wondering if all of this was for nothing. Missing holidays and free time, time with friends. Not having enough money to see my family, struggling to pay my rent each month, and giving out so much free work in exchange for learning and opportunities. I thought about moving home, and then the universe worked its magic again. An old broker I worked for called me and told me he referred me for a job opportunity for a commercial agent who also does development. I went in for the interview and got the job. This job was the perfect catalyst to help me gain confidence and launch me into entrepreneurship. 

I think a big mental hang-up that I went through was feeling like I always had to be something other than myself to be a business owner fit into one lane when the whole thing that attracted me to being an entrepreneur in the first place was to have the chance to live freely and creatively as myself for myself doing WHATEVER makes me happy at the time. 

Also, finding the balance between my real estate “hat” and my artist’s “hat.” It’s taken a couple years, but with gaining confidence in myself, I have been able to find balance and ways to stay true to myself and both my passions at the same time, which in return has led me to even more deeper/ meaningful connections with the people that I work with! 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
33 Realty is a commercial and residential real estate company specializing in assisting clients buy, sell, and invest in real estate. My specialty is being able to thoroughly understand a property’s potential. I am proud of the fact that I can walk what I talk. I don’t just know the zoning or the steps to redesigning a space, but I’ve actually been down in the projects myself, hands-on and managing them from start to completion. Drawing the plans, connecting with contractors handling issues. I’m an agent with a strong background in asset management, operations, and construction project management with a creative eye. 

If you or anyone you know is looking to buy, sell, curious about investing in real estate or feel like your space could use a re-design to max your income potential, contact me! 

I also offer health department plans for people in the food and retail industry. 

For residential real estate, I have been working with buyers, sellers, and investors and would love the chance to sit down and talk about your home goals! 

As for my creative consulting, I work with businesses and brands to create impactful content and creatively strategize marketing projects. I am a seasoned photographer working in a variety of environments. A big skill that translates to both real estate and art is the vision to think big and outside the box, and that is something I do very well. 

Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
This might be the best question so far. I am a true believer that every day, we get to wake up and CHOOSE what brings us happiness and that happiness can come from anything big or small. So, for me, so many things make me happy, from the small moments like walking the beach with my girlfriend and dog before I start a workday to being in nature. A facetime with my family, seeing the people I love be happy makes me happy. Photography and creating brings me so much joy. Connecting with new people and experiencing new places and things. I also know this sounds like a cliche, but my job really does bring me a lot of happiness. I get to meet so many people and help bring happiness to others through real estate and art. 

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Shannen El-Qasem

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