“Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her; but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.” This quote, attributed to Enlightenment-era philosopher Voltaire, illustrates how people often have no control of the events that happen in their life, but what they have control over is how they respond to these events and what they make of them.
This is how Peter Yee, President of Vermont-based real estate brokerage Yellow Sign Commercial, describes his life. A first-generation immigrant, Peter was adopted at a very young age and grew up in Hawaii. He was accepted at a famous preparatory school in Hawaii, then later moved to the opposite side of the US to study at the University of Vermont. Peter says he struggled with his studies, taking almost six years to finish a four-year degree. However, beyond academic knowledge, he learned many life lessons during his time in university.
Since his youth, Peter dreamed of becoming a stockbroker. One of the managers at a company he applied to advised him to gain some sales experience, so he worked as a car salesman before applying again. This time, he was hired, and he worked successfully as a stockbroker for several years in one of the world's largest firms. However, Peter decided a change was necessary during the Global Financial Crisis, and moved back with his family to Vermont.
After learning about an opportunity in real estate from his father, he decided to try it out, and he joined a leading local real estate broking company. Peter’s outgoing and friendly personality and his sense of humor helped him thrive in this industry, and his ability to read people’s body language allowed him to accurately gauge clients’ sentiment and close deals quickly.
“While a career in real estate looks glamorous, it’s also a lot of work,” Peter says. “I’ve had to knock on many doors and introduce myself, and I used to give out my business card all the time. When I first started real estate, the company didn't give me a paycheck. I had to close a deal to get paid.”
Over a six-year period, Peter built a huge network of relationships as a real estate broker. He says he never dreamt of owning his own real estate company, and his only goal was to make enough money to buy several properties of his own and earn passive income off them. However, that changed when several big business owners in Vermont wanted to open a local real estate company in order to get the best deals.
“The best deals are the ones that are not on the market,” Peter says. “You have to go find them. And the business owners thought that I had a good nose for these deals, so they convinced me to strike out on my own and work for them. While things didn’t work out later on, I still credit them for giving me the idea and spurring me into action.”
Fortunately, since real estate is a relationship business, Peter had most of his client network intact, and they continued working with him with his new company, Yellow Sign Commercial, which he founded in 2012.
“My former employer’s logo was red. But I thought that a yellow sign stood out more, so I decided to name my company Yellow Sign Commercial. I wanted people to know that they’re still dealing with the same guy and they’re getting all the benefits and level of service they’re used to. I just happened to trade the red sign for a yellow sign.”
Throughout his career, Peter has sold over $50,000,000 in real estate, leased over 300,000 square feet of commercial space, and closed over 30 business and restaurant deals.
Like a card game, life sometimes gives people good hands and bad hands. A few years ago, Peter encountered a rough patch in his life. After some personal struggles and tragedies, he lost his zeal for business and was thinking of retiring. However, he thought back to an old method he once utilized, the law of attraction. Driving deeper, Peter consumed vast amounts of knowledge by consuming motivational videos and books. He began studying this concept and embodying it in his life. This inspired him to get clean and reignited his love of life and hunger for success.
Today, aside from his business as a real estate broker, Peter also mentors other people who aspire to succeed in real estate like him. With the help of his teenage sons, he is working to harness the power of social media to reach a wider audience, and to allow more people to reach him, as well.
“I try to live by the Golden Rule, which is to ‘do unto others as you'd want them to do unto you’, as well as Mother Teresa's saying: 'Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.' I bring humor and try to make friends everywhere I go, because people want to do business with someone who they like. I give them 100% attention, and over many years of being in sales, I learned how to read people well. I choose to do business with people that I like, and I consider myself lucky that those people like me too.”
Name: Peter Yee
Email: [email protected]