How I Escaped Domestic Violence, Built a Seven-Figure Empire, and Found Love Along the Way

When Jess Lenouvel entered the real estate enterprise in 2005, she had no idea that during just over a decade, she’d discover love, construct a seven-parent commercial enterprise, and encourage different woman entrepreneurs around the sector. But she had to conquer her darkest boundaries to get there.

An early calling and mentor.
Real estate become in Lenouvel’s blood lengthy before she found out it turned into her calling; her mother, Michele Leung, has been an agent in Toronto, Canada, for 35 years. “My earliest reminiscences have been at the circle of relatives dinner table ingesting noodles, being attentive to testimonies approximately the deal my mom changed into working on,” says Lenouvel.

Lenouvel as a toddler, along with her mom, Michele Leung
Image credit score: Jess Lenouvel

Unsure about her path after university, Lenouvel’s mom cautioned giving actual estate a shot. Lenouvel got her license at 21, and without delay confronted her first professional battle. “I looked 16 years old,” she laughs. “But then I spoke, and clients took me severely. You prove your really worth thru your paintings.

“I didn’t find actual property tough. The conversations with clients paralleled what I’d heard from Mom the preceding decade. I wasn’t fixated on the sale and just enjoyed helping humans find a domestic—their sacred vicinity of refuge and luxury.”

Lenouvel also attributes her early achievement to being female: “Women bring a unique asset in business. They’re usually greater empathetic, innately information customers’ fears and needs. They word minor info and are professional at analyzing human beings—a vital talent for any realtor.

“Mom taught me the way to be a ‘cash therapist’ as an instance, reframing a person’s concept process to conquer psychological blocks, empowering them to shop for the house they desired and will have the funds for.”

Within twelve months, Lenouvel turned into creating a stable six-discern earnings. By 24, it seemed just like the world became at her ft.

Success, however not happiness.
“He become very fascinating, all people cherished him,” Lenouvel sighs, as she opens up approximately a three-yr abusive dating. “But he changed into threatened by using my achievement. He had a primal urge maintain me feeling small.

“The abuse become emotional at the beginning. Blatant disrespect, announcing I became worthless. Calling me terrible names, cheating on me. Drama and volatility became my every day lifestyles. I stopped seeing my pals.

“Then matters were given unsightly. He’d hit me, take hold of me, push me down the steps. But he changed into surprisingly remorseful later on. You assume, ‘Oh nicely, that gained’t happen once more.’ It’s a slippery slope—your standards slowly erode over time.

“You make irrational rationalizations. For instance, I became satisfied the quantity of bruising on my body became a hemoglobin problem. Then my dad, who’s a health practitioner, took my blood and stated, ‘Jessica, you’ve got the iron stages of a person; you shouldn’t be bruising.’”

Lenouvel’s tipping point got here on a wet Tuesday night in 2011 whilst the abuser became now not remorseful after hitting her. She referred to as a family friend, informed her everything and pleaded for assist. “She arrived at my condominium at 10:30 pm along with her six foot , 2 hundred-pound husband who informed my ex, ‘Pack your stuff, get out.’ Like that, it become over.”

Lenouvel in 2011
Image credit: Jess Lenouvel

Sadly, Lenouvel’s experience isn’t particular. According to the World Health Organization, almost 30 percentage of ladies global revel in a few shape of physical and/or sexual violence through an intimate associate in their lifetime.

New beginnings, at a charge.
Newly single, Lenouvel’s self assurance became at rock backside. She felt that studying a new skill become the path to rebuild. With six years of residential selling enjoy, Lenouvel began running for a developer on November 1, 2011 to analyze actual property from a brand new angle.

“I became decided to upward push in a male-dominated surroundings,” Lenouvel says. “I had to prove that I was capable and worth of fulfillment. I commenced making appropriate cash and felt empowered. But my boss advanced emotions for me; I bizarrely transitioned from an abusive dating right into a sexual harassment scenario.”

Around this time, Lenouvel met her destiny husband and business companion, Yves (mentioned Eve). “Within 30 seconds of assembly, there was no choice; I become head over heels in love.” Six months later, Lenouvel became engaged. After arriving at work the subsequent morning sporting an engagement ring, she changed into fired.

But she’d found out sufficient at some stage in that 12 months to identify a hollow in the Toronto real property marketplace, which became experiencing a improvement growth. “Builders had been paying massive commissions to realtors who closed customers on their creation initiatives,” Lenouvel says.

With no income and a couple of deposits on her wedding, she began a commercial enterprise along with her fiancé out of necessity: ShopCondos.

Creating a monster with her No. 1 fan.
According to Lenouvel, many realtors depend on 1970s advertising techniques—door knocking, mailing flyers, cold calling. “You trade time for bad first-rate leads. So, ShopCondos was a hundred percent on line from day one, an outlier in the Toronto real property marketplace at the time.”

Lenouvel wrote sales copy at the same time as her fiancé designed the internet site the usage of YouTube tutorials. Google advertising become exceptionally new on the time, and they offered creation initiatives “off the plan” in extent. The end result? Seven figures inside three hundred and sixty five days. Any self-doubts had evaporated.

But Lenouvel become miserable and overwhelmed. Her largest 12 months turned into 220 deals with zero outsourcing. She’d paintings 15- to 18-hour days, seven days every week for two months after which burn out for a month. “I was like a telephone that recharged a bit, then the battery died. I lost angle from being so ‘in’ the enterprise that I couldn’t see a way ‘out’. I ‘escaped’ on holiday, but spent the entire time feeling stressful.

“With hindsight, I didn’t scale nicely. Freedom comes from leveraging the capabilities of others. It’s fundamental hiring. You grow to a certain point. Then you rent and delegate. I feared no person might do as top a activity as me. So I did many things outdoor my ‘quarter of genius’—stuff I didn’t excel at or revel in. It wasn’t the first-rate use of my time.

“Women regularly sense the strain to be ideal but don’t ask for assist, wondering they can do everything. But we don’t experience supported and get frustrated whilst we can’t manage; it’s a vicious cycle.”

Although Lenouvel become one of the few women excelling in her market, she’d lost her ardour. “I attracted low-excellent clients, who desired the ‘excellent deal’ as opposed to being excited to paintings with me. I stopped seeing them as human beings; they simply became leads. That’s a deeply unsatisfying way to paintings while you initially cherished the feeling of connecting with customers.”

Lenouvel found out there has been only one individual accountable: herself. She closed ShopCondos in February 2018 after promoting over $300 million of assets in 5 years. “I immediately felt alive once more,” says Lenouvel. She and her husband packed their assets into 5 containers, sold the motors, and moved to LA with the cats to be closer to Lenouvel’s commercial enterprise mentor, Scott Oldford.

New dawn: reason and love.
“My project is to help realtors scale successfully and create a existence of freedom that each entrepreneur craves. The truth for most entrepreneurs is a hamster wheel to burnout.”

Lenouvel now facilitates realtors scale from 6-figures to 7-figures in one year.
Image credit: Derek Simpson

“People are jaded from being advertised to,” says Lenouvel. “Frequency with out relevancy is stressful. Your advertising wishes to be so precise to attract those who would narrow off their arm to paintings with you.

“Real estate advertising is the worst. How many of those horrible, normal, total BS statements do you pay attention? ‘Buy it before it hits the market!’ ‘Free domestic evaluation!’ ‘First get admission to, VIP pricing, don’t omit out!’ ‘#1 in income ultimate yr!’ ‘We’re not just realtors, we’re matchmakers!’

“What if as an alternative, you constructed a courting with people? You don’t stroll up to someone in the road and request on the spot intercourse. But that’s how the majority promote. They’re shooting for the only night stand. Make your content relevant, intimate and omnipresent, and you’ll blow up your commercial enterprise.”

The exceptional way to try this, in step with Lenouvel, is to “marketplace to the small pond”—discover a niche and determine who your customer might be. “That’s scary for lots of agents who say, ‘I promote studios, bungalows, penthouses, and mansions—anywhere from East to West,’ which interprets to, ‘I’ll take any deal.’” Thirty-5 years in the past, Lenouvel’s mom specialized in actual estate for physicians. Now she’s cornered a beneficial market of excessive net worth clients and in no way has to paintings.

Lenouvel’s new organisation, The Listings Lab, helps six-figure realtors revamp their enterprise fashions, taking them to seven figures within 365 days, at the same time as nevertheless having the time to enjoy existence—with any luck with the love in their life. When discussing marriage after tying the knot in 2013, Lenouvel gushes, “It’s smooth—if you’re with the right man or woman. We have a blast 24/7; it’s by no means stifling. We recognize in which we each stand and meld together in a manner that makes us higher.”

Lenouvel together with her husband, Yves.
Image credit: Lindsey Roman

“You don’t want to conflict to suit in a mildew. It can pay to be proper in business and life. Start sharing your reviews, career recommendation and personal existence on Instagram, with teachable moments. You’ll build your brand. People will understand you as approachable, heat, and trustworthy—a exclusive personality than most realtors.”

And that persona doesn’t involve working 15 hours a day.