Is it really possible to combine many different skills into one profitable business?
It can be done. Just ask Jeff Sand.
His business, Straight Edge Home Inspections, provides residential and commercial home inspections and ancillary services, along with real estate photography and videography.
“Basically, my day consists of a combination of activities. In the morning, I can perform a home inspection, and in the afternoon, I can go to another property and conduct drone and flash photography, a virtual tour, and videography,” Jeff explains.
How did he get into these fields?
In 2008, he got his general contractor’s license and teamed up to launch a remodeling business in San Diego. The business was extremely busy, but it had high overhead, multiple jobs and crews, and a big shop. Eventually, it just became unsustainable, so he closed up shop and moved on with many painful lessons learned.
Jeff and his wife moved to Dolores in 2012, where he tried out a number of different career paths. As anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit can attest, he discovered again and again that he is at his best when he is working for himself.
In 2020, he launched Straight Edge. The SBDC introduced him to Region 9, and they were instrumental in helping him obtain a business loan. When the real estate business experienced a winter slowdown, he started working with Joe Keck, who helped him develop a plan to fine tune his marketing.
Through his work, Jeff came to realize that there is a huge need for realtors to be able to quickly edit photos and videos before uploading them to a website. After spending the past year in research and development, he is about to launch a new product called RealtyFeature.
The browser-based platform allows real estate agents to upload any combination of videos or images and do some light editing. They can create a branding profile and select animated text features to display on a video. A guided component walks them through the process.
Joe Keck has again been instrumental in the process. “RealtyFeature is an easy way for non-tech savvy realtors to quickly create videos for different applications but still have polished branding and animated features. Joe helped me develop the business plan and marketing strategy before I started to invest money and time into it. He’s been a source of continuous, evolving support.” Launching a business is no easy feat, and Jeff offers other budding entrepreneurs this insight: “I heard somebody say ‘Don’t compare your insides to somebody’s outsides,’ and I think that is helpful to keep in mind when developing a self-employment or business project. Chances are, everybody else who has any degree of success still feels like they aren’t up to the task, not smart enough, or not deserving of success. Just keep showing up and strive to improve and embrace that you may be a persistent idiot, and that that may be what makes the difference.”