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Meet Sarah Nicole Riley

Updated: Apr 4, 2019

I grew up in a middle class family. We lived in an average neighbor but my parent’s definitely earned way above the average income. My brother and I didn’t want for much and we did a lot of fun things together as a family. Needless to say my drive and ambition wasn’t out of necessity.

I got my first job when I was 15 at subway. I rode by bike after school to work. I played Basketball and later in High school Rugby. But I still managed to work all through school and I didn’t go a summer without having at least 2 jobs sometimes 3. Mostly in the service and restaurant industry. As I was writing this episode I spent time reflecting on what drove me to work so hard. Freedom. Freedom to make my own choices, to have control. Having the means to choose. As I child you are at the mercy of your parents if you want something or need something for them to purchase it for you. I didn’t want to have to be beholden to someone else. I wanted the freedom to make my own choices, make my own way.

I moved out at 18 and worked 3 jobs at times to support myself. When I was 19 I became the youngest account executive for Xerox. Now that was a hard job I went door to door business to business cold calling. That job though honestly laid the foundation for a lot of the sales skills I have now. If you can sell a Xerox machine to a business owner at 19 years old, well you can sell just about anything. I made 40K that year selling Xerox which was pretty impressive but not enough so I got a job working nights, grave yard 8pm-4am at a veterinary laboratory.

Man, I still don’t know how I got that job. I had a lab coat with my name embroidered on it — 2 of them. To this day I still don’t know what I was doing there. I was the only employee without a degree and half the time I fell asleep while I was working. I am pretty sure all the animals survived, no one was hurt. I would eat sour patch kids and listen to Metallica on my iPod to try and stay awake. I eventually got burned out and went back to the restaurant industry, managing and bartending.

All in all I have had 24 Jobs in my life which is insane because I am only 36 and I spent 10 years at the same company. That is was happens when you are hired for every job you interview for. I tell you this because I didn’t have it easy. Nothing I have now was handed to me, it was all earned. I didn’t go to college just the school of hard knocks and it has served me well. I didn’t always know what I was going to do, I didn’t have this laid out plan I sort of fell into my and then I worked my way up to grow in knowledge and experience.

I got married to Randy when I was 24 and at that time was bartending and making almost 6 figures. Randy was already 5 years in his trade as a commercial plumber and 2 weeks before our wedding he told me to quit my job. He hated working opposite schedules and we were egger to start a family. Randy knew I was made for more and I was so unfulfilled. It was the permission I needed to take a HUGE pay cut and leap of faith to figure out what I was supposed be doing. That is when I went into the mortgage industry.

I did my time starting out just doing marketing which evolved into an assistant role and eventually to a production partner and later to a loan officer. My first official year of originating my own business not under a team was 2013 and that 1st year I was the top 1% in the nation and made presidents club at my company. Now, 12 years in the industry and a master at my trade, I am so blessed that Randy knew my potential even when I didn’t and had the faith in me when I was unsure.

It hasn’t been easy though. It was a long hard journey in an industry that is ever changing, highly regulated, and at times really hard, however the rewards have been even greater. I managed to build a team, maintain my top 1% in the nation status and grow to one of the top producers in the Northwest and now also manage a Branch at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. All while having 3 kids.

When I started in this industry I was making $15 an hour, leaving my baby and questioning my choices constantly. I tried so hard to balance or what I thought was balance, because I wanted to be there for my babies. I would work from home 1-2 days a week until they were 2 years old which was WAY harder than going to work. Anyone that tries to work from home with little kids, God Bless you! I say try because sometimes you succeed and sometimes you do not. I have had to stand outside on the front porch holding the door shut because my 2 year old was screaming so loud about wanting her 5th bag of gummies and I was on the phone with a client. I can’t even tell you how many calls I have made in the bathroom, my closet, or the garage.

I made serious effort to be home by 4pm most days which meant that I was always behind and after I put the kids to bed I would spend the nights working. I have fallen asleep on the couch in front my computer too many nights to count. I currently still have a 3 year old and my oldest is 9 so let’s just be honest I haven’t slept in 9 years. Growing a business is not all glamourous. Greatness takes dirty hard work.

Now I have flexibility and financial freedom and I love my Job. Randy loves it too having a partner to share the financial burden with. We argue about a lot but Never about money not any more. There were a few hard years for us at the beginning of our marriage but I eventually surpassed Randy’s income and just kept going. Randy is no slum he is the Super Intendant at a very large commercial union plumbing company running multi multi million dollar jobs. But his schedule also allows for me to work later because he is home after school doing homework and playing softball with the girls. We are a team and I couldn’t do my job without his support. It works for us and Randy is proud of the fact that he doesn’t have to stress about money or be the main income earner. It is a responsibility shared.

Just saying all that I have accomplished is hard for me. I rarely talk about my work accomplishments. Kids, my girls, heck all day long I will shamelessly brag about them, but If we don’t share our paths, tell others the road we have paved, how will they know? Someone else is holding the map, how will they know there is already a road traveled if we don’t tell them. They could be out there traipsing through the jungle with a huge machete trying to carve out a path for themselves when they didn’t need to work so hard or worse not travel at all. Not even take the journey because it looked too hard. Hopeless. Share!! Share your story so others can celebrate you and possibly follow in your footsteps.

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