Manny Bahia is a real estate agent with SRS Westside Realty and also the co-founder of VancityBuzz, one of Vancouver’s best known blogs covering news, sports, entertainment and more. You can connect with Manny online at @mannyvancity
Manny, you’re a real estate agent and also run one of Vancouver’s top blogs, which one did you get into first?
Hi! My career as a real estate agent began in the summer of 2006 when the market in Vancouver was early in its blistering hot stage. I wanted to take advantage of family and friends purchasing and selling real estate at the time. My time was limited since I was still at Simon Fraser University completing a BBA and Economics joint major. I figured working with family and friends would help me financially and also assist me in gaining valuable experience I could take to clients in the future.
Vancity Buzz began as a passion project in my childhood friend’s basement in July 2008.
We are always looking at adding new features and sections to Vancity Buzz to distance and differentiate ourselves from our competition.
How did VancityBuzz come about and why did you decide to start it?
Vancity Buzz came about with our passion for the city of Vancouver. Developments and urban planning have been a cornerstone of making Vancouver the great city it is today and we had an opinion on it. We also had opinions on civic and provincial issues, sports, and entertainment. So we started a blog in my partner’s basement and began weekly meetings which we continue to this day.
Our angle has always been expressing news and opinions with light-hearted satire, and simply keeping it real. We avoid all that boring mainstream media news.
VancityBuzz has become a premier site for Vancouver information, looking back, what was most critical in making it a success? What took it from being ‘just another blog’ to such a visited and talked about online destination?
The most critical point in time which took Vancity Buzz to the next level was the 2010 Winter Olympics. We pulled all-nighters compiling guides and news for Vancouverites and tourists.
At the same time, my partner with Vancity Buzz, Karm, was deeply engaged in the Twitterverse and building quite the following, quickly. He engaged with locals on a personal level, entertained, and disseminated the content they were looking for from Vancity Buzz. His commitment to social media has been unwavering.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without our content and commitment to our social media channels.
Most recently, our growing team of the most amazing up-and-coming writers in Vancouver has been the boon to our growth. Content is king when it comes to online media.
We are always looking at adding new features and sections to Vancity Buzz to distance and differentiate ourselves from our competition. I think what Apple does with continuous innovation is something we admire greatly. Our current web guy has done a phenomenal job of implementation.
Has running the blog directly impacted your career as a real estate agent in any way, positive or negative?
It has been a negative impact since the inception of the blog. It is impossible to run a startup online business and, at the same time, be out and about selling real estate. Even with smartphones, there are certain tasks for which you need to be at the office on a computer. It is a juggling act.
However, it is nothing but positive going forward. Vancity Buzz has grown to a level of self-sufficiency and become a strong promotional engine in Vancouver. Recognizing this, we have a couple projects in the pipeline, launching shortly, which will be promoted through Vancity Buzz, along with me as a real estate agent. Our Vancity Buzz family is so solid and we’re all exploring exciting opportunities together.
He engaged with locals on a personal level, entertained, and disseminated the content they were looking for from Vancity Buzz. His commitment to social media has been unwavering.
Running one business can be challenging enough, what does your typical day look like running two?
Each day is fairly flexible, but scheduled the night before, based on urgency and priority. The morning begins with me attending sponsor emails at my home office, followed by showering and all that morning stuff. The rest of the day involves: real estate, managing technical/backend issues and development, event management, sponsor relations, Project X, Project Y, etc.
We have an amazing team where everybody is willing to take on each other’s responsibilities and understanding of outside commitments. Adding the right core executives has been instrumental in providing the positive direction Vancity Buzz has headed.
I keep myself sane with meditation. I also take out at least a night per week for family and friends.
Is staying productive a key focus for you?
Productivity is huge. Having your own businesses keeps you busy at all hours of the day, seven days a week.
I’m a huge efficiency and micromanagement kind of guy. I can’t live without my Blackberry smartphone with Google Calendar, and Toshiba laptop.
However, I think the most important tool for productivity would be meditation, by far. A focused, clear, and relaxed mind goes a long way to make the right decisions and increase mental stamina and efficiency. Twenty minutes per day can save you hours.
Do you have a good work-life balance?
Work-life balance is important, depending on the circumstances. When you’re in early stages of a startup, forget about life. Once things stabilize a bit, you need to take breaks to keep sanity.
I keep myself sane with meditation. I also take out at least a night per week for family and friends. My family, friends, and girlfriend are very supportive and I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without them. Vacations are important for recharging. I live by the “work hard, play hard” doctrine.
Can you share a personal or business challenge that was hard to deal with and how you overcame it and what you learned from it?
The toughest business challenge I had to face was holding off as a real estate agent at the beginning of this year for four months. We were going through a transition period at Vancity Buzz and so I focused all my attention on it, giving up real estate opportunities. Sometimes it’s good to focus on paddling one boat than multiple boats.
In hindsight, it worked because we reached a level of self-sufficiency, giving more flexibility now.
What is your favourite quote of all time?
Anything motivational. I hear or see a new quote every day. Whether it’s academic or rap music, I don’t have a favourite.
What is one thing that your coworkers, clients or friends may not know about you?
I love them like family.