We had the good fortune of connecting with Jacki Ueng and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jacki, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I believe that taking risks is the key to breakthroughs and living outside a structured, pre-planned, mediocre lifestyle. I have taken several risks since I became a free adult (my parents were extremely strict growing up and it wasn’t until I left home was I able to spread my wings):
-Majoring in Cultural Anthropology and minoring in Philosophy at UC Riverside – 2 subjects that are not “lucrative” but it enhanced my deepest passions and interest, which has definitely helped me in Sales and understanding various cultures which has made my Travel Blog more successful & personable
-Taking on a commission-based job at a Title Insurance company right out of college. I entered as an Account Executive and essentially was a door-to-door saleswoman knocking on the doors of Real Estate Offices, Banks, Mortgage Companies, Escrow Companies. I also attended Real Estate conventions, workshops, networking events, totally a fish out of water! By the time I was 25, I was surpassing most my peers in income, because of the risk, organization, follow-ups & hustle
-Starting a Travel Blog and traveling to less-common countries like Iran, Lebanon, India, Turkey, Cuba, Myanmar.. which has many blogposts ranking on first page of Google
-Lastly, investing in Real Estate. I leverage financing (which is riskier than putting more down payment) and I often buy properties in areas most people wouldn’t. I do my research, hire a professional Realtor in the area, and have found pretty high returns in equity & cash flow in those areas.
I believe people should take the risk that’s comfortable to them. For some people to do what I mentioned above would give them a heart attack, it’s not for everyone. And then there are “risks” such as skydiving which I have no interest in. But most importantly, we should push ourselves outside the comfort zone to excel to the next level!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My professional title is “VP Business Development” of Ticor Title, the Real Estate industry calls us “Title Reps”. There are on average 15 sales reps in each Title Company that serve a county (and there are at least 5 major title companies in every territory). Essentially, there are dozens of competitors all going after the same business. Our target clients are anyone who ever does a Real Estate transaction, because they will choose a Title Insurance company for every deal. So we want to be their #1 choice, and if not #1, then as close to that as possible. Essentially, we are all selling the same product – insuring the Deed is properly insured to their name/vesting and if any issues come up, the company will be responsible in solving it.
So what sets a sales rep apart? Why do my clients work with me? In a nutshell, my motto is GSD “Get Shit Done”. People these days, especially the efficient, successful ones don’t need the wining & dining and ego-stroking, they just want to make sure the deals close as anticipated with minimal BS in between. They want to know when/if they contact you, you’ll get it done. I am pretty organized, Type A, and Driver type, so I gravitate (and vice versa) in working with those personality types. Which means that our emails are minimal but efficient, and not a lot of hand-holding.
Outside of logistics, I believe that my brand “Jacki Ueng, the Title Rep” is also young, energetic and innovative. I mean, I did start at the age of 21 and am now 36, so I’d hope to be those adjectives! It’s been an exciting journey to grow with so many of my clients from the early 20’s and witness our successes in our 30’s now. Most of our conversations are outside of Title Insurance now. Many are savvy and keen to investing in properties, which is what I’m also passionate about. We share information on hot markets, best financing options, and resources. The younger generation is all about Financial Freedom, being a “Digital Nomad” (working remotely (from home or while traveling) – and so my brand is also a lifestyle that people are attracted to.
I am a connector of People and Ideas. Even outside of Real Estate, anytime I hear a need from people I meet, I try to connect them within my network. Instead of just asking for the business, I believe in being resourceful and giving back.
To overcome challenges? For sales, it’s overcoming rejection time and again, but picking yourself back up. To not take it personal, because most the time, it’s not personal (even though sometimes it can be). To just keep going, sales is a numbers game. It’s a connection game. The more you have to offer – both on your product knowledge (and your personality & interest), the more people find you fascinating!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, I LOVE MY CITY!! I grow to love LA more and more with each passing time. I love the diversity in ethnicities, backgrounds, religions, which brings their authentic food, personalities and more. Easily, we’d take a drive along Pacific Coast highway for 2 days of beach: from Malibu down to Manhattan Beach. So many adorable restaurants/bars/neighborhoods in each beach town.
In Malibu, I love Moonshadow for a Mojito, and would take them to the Self-Realization Temple in Palisades while there. We could grab a Cubano sandwich at Cafe Habana and lay on the beach after. We could do the classic touristy thing and rollerblade from Santa Monica to Venice and check out the street art, eclectic people and new breweries. We could shop on Abbot Kinney.
I would take them on a tour through my favorite Asian ethnic districts: Koreatown (eat Korean BBQ at Kang Ho Dang Baekjong), Thaitown for Boat Noodles (Sap Cafe), Best Sushi at Sushi Gen (Little Tokyo), have a meal in Little Ethiopia. Then head to San Gabriel Valley for authentic Taiwanese Noodles (Bobee Cafe in Rowland Heights), Hot Pot at Kingswood.. I can go on with the food.
For Happy Hour drinks, we could hang out in West Hollywood at Gracias Madre’s beautiful Spanish-style Courtyard, rooftops at EP LP, Proper Hotel, Sky Bar and go down to Downtown LA to Ace Hotel, Perch and more.
I’d take them to visit different friends to their homes for backyard BBQ’s and drinks. There’s too much to do!!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My grandmother and my dad who raised me and put #1 priority to their family. They are still my leading motivation in life.
Book: Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood, who founded RoomtoRead.org, an NGO focused on eliminating gender inequality and illiteracy from the world through partnering with local communities throughout Southeast Asia & Africa, publishing culturally relevant children’s books, mentorship programs and hiring local educational professionals to empower the community. I was involved for a decade in fundraising in the LA area. That experience has been empowering and inspirational