Papa-paparazzi

Be cool. Just be COOL.

Easier said than done when Bill Rancic is calling your office...

Bill Rancic is calling

But let me take a step back. I’ve always had what some might describe as paparazzi tendencies. I get very star-struck when I see or talk to anyone who has been on TV for upwards of two minutes and my body simply shuts down. 

This first occurred in high school when my mom and I spotted Tom Cavanaugh, star of my then-favorite NBC show “Ed,” walking the streets of New York City. I can’t really tell you what followed, as I have no recollection of anything that was said or done. I just know that there is a picture of us together and that at some point he put his arm around me. I also know that we spent the next 20 minutes following him down Sixth Avenue until some painful thigh chaffing made it physically impossible to go on.

Fortunately, I learned my lesson a few years later while studying abroad in England. Which is to say, I always had a pair of spandex shorts on the ready. 

Clothed in the appropriate attire, I managed to spot (and keep up with) several celebrities. Yes, I was asked to leave an Elijah Wood film set and was given the stink eye by Mischa Barton, but let’s not focus on the unsavory.

So when Bill Rancic—a 2014 NAA Education Conference & Exposition Thought Leader—called my office for a units Magazine interview, you can understand why it was hard to BE COOL. But this was my job and I had to be professional.

As such, following are a few of the very professional questions I asked Bill Rancic, and his very professional responses.

Me: One of your first business endeavors was starting a boat wash and wax business in college. What did you learn from that experience that has served as a foundation for your long-term entrepreneurial goals?

Rancic: I learned some of the most important lessons of my life during that time. My parents were teachers and I grew up around those kinds of people, so I’d never been around businessmen and entrepreneurs before. I was taking care of these 60-, 70-, 80-foot boats for these people who were cruising on Lake Michigan. I wasn’t making much, but I was surrounded by entrepreneurs and I thought, “I’m no different than these guys.” It gave me the confidence to go out and do it. Just because you tell me I’m worth minimum wage doesn’t make it true. 

Me: You seem to have your hands in everything. How can companies who are branching out in various directions avoid spreading themselves too thin or forgetting about the core of their original business?

Rancic: That’s where a lot of people get in trouble: they try to be all things to all people. You have to understand who you are and find side endeavors that complement that. I have a friend who owned several apartment buildings and he wanted to take on some new challenges so he started his own apartment finder business. That’s a great example—all of his businesses worked together and his ancillary businesses fed into his main business.

Me: Can you explain the notion of thinking long-term in a short-term world in regard to real estate?

Rancic: As we’ve all seen over the past eight years, you have to be agile. You can’t be afraid to take the blinders off. The people who got in trouble were the ones who stayed the course. You have to adjust and adapt and react in order to be successful. 

Just as I adjusted and adapted to this dapper man’s phone call.

For our full interview, check out the May issue of units Magazine, which mailed May 13.

Lauren Boston is NAA’s Staff Writer and Manager of Public Relations. Unsurprisingly, she writes a lot—most often for units Magazine and as a weekly blogger for APTly Spoken. She enjoys making people laugh, sharing embarrassing childhood stories and being the (self-proclaimed) Voice of the Apartment Industry. She welcomes feedback, unless it’s negative (in which case, please keep it to yourself).