Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tales of Reinvention: Vince Rocco

Vince Rocco is a Vice President for Halstead Property. But Real Estate has not always been his business. In fact when when I first met Vince years ago the running joke was that Vince was either buying or selling his current residence. At one point he moved seven times in seven years. What started as a hobby became his passion. In 2002 Vince decided to make Real Estate his work. 

I believe that sometimes we choose to reinvent and sometimes it choose us.  
What made you take the leap?
I had been thinking of transitioning for a while. But I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I had a great job in network consulting with a big title, Vice President of Sales, making good money with lots of perks. It was not easy to give up. But then 9/11 happened. I had just started a new job that August. My office was near the Towers. I remember being covered with ash from head to toe and just running. Something snapped in me.  I knew something had to change.  It took a few months but then one morning that winter I woke up. I still remember just laying there and deciding it was time. A few days later I called my boss and said I'm resigning. That was February of 2002.

Where did you get the idea? 
I was always buying real estate. But I'm not really sure when I got the idea. I think it was just there. I believe everything happens for a reason and with a purpose. Who knew that when I bought my very first Manhattan apartment it would lead to this?

You came to this with a sales background. Has that made it easier to transition?
Real Estate is more marketing than sales. You don't get schooled in Real Estate. Yes, you have to take classes to get your license, but I have found that the most successful brokers are that way from life experiences. If you've walked the earth long enough and you have good people and communication skills  then you are prepared. I have and I do.

What has been the biggest surprise concerning your reinvention?
My comfort level with being free and not being on a salary. It took me two years to get over the shock of not having a paycheck every two weeks. But I think that has made me a better person, stronger, more confident. It's taught me to work, to breath, to relax and trust the compensation will follow.

What has been the biggest obstacle?
Well, we can go back to the steady pay thing. But also trying to keep everything fresh. It's up to me to come up with inventive ideas every day, every week, to stay current. Essentially being a broker is being in business for yourself. So it's all up to me.

What has come the easiest?
The confidence.  Knowing what to do to make it happen. Wisdom I have now that I am in my fifties. My father used to tell me "Just wait until you're my age. You'll know." He's right. The older I've gotten the smarter I've gotten.

What do you love most?
The freedom that comes with this is overwhelming. I don't have to wear a tie, much less that perfect tie that is the latest style at the moment. I love the flexibility in my day. I got a dog, Jett. I couldn't do  that before because I couldn't devote that much time to taking care of her. Now I can.

What do you miss the most?
Expense accounts. Having my cell phone bill paid for.

I always say my biggest regrets have to do with Manhattan Real Estate. Do you have any regrets?
Absolutely not.

What are you most proud of?
I was made a VP after 5 years. And I am a soon to be a Senior VP. I'm proud that with all the drama, the ups and downs that go with a reinvention I did it and I did it successfully.

What advice would you give others shaking up their lives?
Put the fear on the table and just do it. Stop thinking. Until you do it, you don't know.

I don't believe Reinvention is a destination, but an ongoing process. 
What's next for you?
I'm ready to do more. I love sharing what I know about sales, about life, and about real estate. I'd like to take that to a broader audience, possibly with a radio or television show. I'm just starting to investigate that. So stay tuned.

Vince's latest properties are  at 505 West 47th Street. 
You can contact Vince at  
You can also follow his inside the Real Estate market tips on Facebook at The Rocco Group.

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