Paul Argueta’s Tips for Starting a Business in Pasadena

Thursday, August 24, 2017 | 7:25 pm

What does it really take to start a business or do business in Pasadena?

Paul Argueta, a successful high-end real estate broker offers six tips on how to plant your business flag and make it big in the City.

Now the CEO, Broker and owner of Real Estate Heaven, Argueta like any other new entrepreneur, was a bit unsure of what he really wanted in the beginning.

“The first thing I learned when I was an agent thinking about starting my own company, was that the timing was never going to be right,” he said.

“I waited for the right timing. I waited for all the right agents, waited for the finances to be just right; and when I realized that if I didn’t take the plunge, and if I didn’t jump in, it wasn’t going to happen. None of the stars were going to align perfectly in order for me to start something.”

Instead of waiting for that right moment to strike out, Argueta said it is better to jump right in and use whatever you have under your belt to your advantage. All Argueta had was a good sales record, and his experience as a real estate agent.

“I didn’t have capital, but I was resourceful and determined. I knew that whatever skills I needed would have to be learned or I’d have to find the right people that already had them,” he said.

“There are some things in life that you will never be prepared for. One of them is parenthood, and the other is starting your own business-which for many people is their baby.”

In addition to making that bold decision to venture into the land of being your own boss, a new business owner must also be humble enough to take cues and advice from other entrepreneurs who have found success and have them, whenever possible, look at their business model and tweak it out.

“One of the things I did early was to look at some of the other success stories, and see if I could lean on their experience to help me with my company,” he said.

During this learning phase, Argueta said he sought the advice of Steve Streit, the CEO of Green Dot Corporation.

Green Dot Corporation is an issuer of prepaid Mastercard and Visa cards in the United States.

Argueta said Streit graciously granted him 30 minutes of his time at the Green Dot corporate office in Pasadena and helped dissect his real estate company’s business plan.

“And for about a half hour, he really just gave me a lot of insight and it was a very humbling experience because he ripped my business to shreds,” Argueta said.

“And you know what, I appreciated that. I really did. I mean, he’s somebody who’s clearly had success on a high level and he gave me some pointers.”

For his third tip, Argueta said any budding entrepreneur who wishes to do business in Pasadena should be “laser focused.” This was another tip he said, that was shared to him by Streit.

“One of the biggest points that I walked away with was that we needed to be laser focused. And he was talking to me about who his clients were at Green Dot and who his marketing demographic was. And one of the first things that I learned after that meeting was that we weren’t as laser focused as we should have been. We were all over the place,” he said.

Streit’s input made Argueta decide to focus his efforts at selling high-end real estate to such buyers as professional athletes.

“I was listing mobile homes in Lancaster for 25,000 and then showing multi-million dollar homes over in Orange County in the same compound as Kobe Bryant. So we were all over the place,” he said.

“When I planted my flag, I decided I should really be focused on the high end market and professional athlete relocation as well.”

For the fourth tip, Argueta said any fresh entrepreneur should use as many free tools that are available to promote your brand. Among these free tools he said include the media, particularly social media.

“You’ve got to build what I call a social fortress. That means that at bare minimum your business must have a profile on Google Maps, Apple Maps, Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook Business, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Pinterest.” he said.

Many of these platforms, according to Argueta, allow you to not only share original content you create, but sites like LinkedIn and Medium allow you to write your own articles that are often picked up quicker by search engines than blog content from your own personal website. The best part is that all these tools are absolutely free.

His fifth tip is to, as he puts it, “Run your race.” He believes that it is easy to be distracted by how everyone else around you is doing and that even he still has difficulty with this. “None of us know what our peers have been through, and when we see someone succeed in what appears to be a short period of time, we tend to question our personal timeline, never taking into account how many failures that person may have experienced prior to that one success story. Statistically speaking, most entrepreneurs don’t make it on their first try. Most success stories have a resume of failures. You just don’t hear about them all. Focus on you-not on anyone else.”

And finally, Argueta said that most entrepreneurs overestimate the level of success they will have in their first year and underestimate the level of success they’ll have by year 5 or year 10. Argueta said the first year of any business is the most difficult.

“The first year is where you’re ramping up and building the business.And the unfortunate truth is that most business fail by year two. So you have to make sure that you’re in it for the long haul and are committed to building it long term, and if it’s not something that you can see yourself committing to, then really you shouldn’t do it,” he said.

Argueta said his real estate company has struggled and has prevailed and is now going strong into its seventh year.

“I’ve become good at it over the last seven years and I am looking forward to becoming even better in the next seven. I am always learning and always adapting.” he said.

For more of Argueta’s tale of business success, please visit his company’s website at





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