Mike Munter: Hey, Julie, how’re you doing?
Julie Aragon: Great! It’s great to be here.
Mike Munter: It’s great to have you on today. I took a look at your website and it’s interesting this theme you created around making the mortgage industry fun. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Julie Aragon: Yeah. When I started in the industry there weren’t a lot of people that looked like me. It was an older group, mostly men. The way they would talk in their headsets, it was just so boring. I just wanted to bring some fun and personality into a process that sometimes can be grueling.
Mike Munter: Yeah. Did you start this business when you were 19?
Julie Aragon: I did. I was in school and I came home on a weekend. A girlfriend of mine was an assistant to a realtor and she said, “Oh, you should become a loan officer.” I had never even heard the term before. But I had a shopping habit, so I looked into it and got my license and got started.
Mike Munter: So, literally you were a teenager and a friend of yours said, “Hey, you should do this.” And you’re like, “Okay.”
Julie Aragon: Yeah. And she and I, we’re not even friends now. That was almost 20 years ago. We don’t even talk anymore. I really need to send her a letter to thank her because she has no idea the kind of impact she had.
Mike Munter: That’s cool. So how do you start to become a loan officer? Is there a test that you take or what’s the certification involved?
Julie Aragon: You do need an MLS license, a loan originator license. You have to do maybe 50 hours of some education and then you take an exam.
Mike Munter: Is that process three months start to finish?
Julie Aragon: I think if you really cram, these days – back then you had to go into a classroom – now you can do it online and self study. I think if you really push, you could probably do it in 30 days.
Mike Munter: Wow. That’s pretty cool. Well, good for you to start a business at 19 and to have that conviction. When you started, were you working for someone else or did you automatically say, “Nope, I’m doing this myself?”
Julie Aragon: Yeah. I started on my own. It didn’t hurt that I still lived at home because being commissioned only in sales, it’s scary when you’ve got a big car payment and other obligations. So, I was so young that I really could just go all in.
Mike Munter: That’s cool. How’d you go about getting your first customer?
Julie Aragon: The first one was a guy, a realtor. We can get our clients directly or a lot of times through real estate agents. So, there was a gentleman that used to “door knock” my parents’ house. He used to do the magnets with the calendar. I saw his calendar and I called him up. I think at first, he thought I was a client, like a buyer or seller. I said, “You know, your magnet is on my parent’s refrigerator. Call me.” And he did. I said, “Well, I’m a lender and I want your business.” Then he started using me.
Mike Munter: It really is just a matter of just asking for the business, isn’t it?
Julie Aragon: Yeah.
Mike Munter: So many people, I find in life are shy about going after what they want. So, in that vein, what drives you? You’ve taken this agency – and it looks like you’ve got six people working there – what is driving you to build this tremendous growth?
Julie Aragon: What’s driving me? Well, getting married helped. So, now with Ajay and his vision and what we do together – it can get a little monotonous – but I’d say, being married and having obligations drives me.
Mike Munter: Yeah. You’re driven by the need to support your lifestyle?
Julie Aragon: Right, and now with a team. Before I had a team, it was really easy; It was just me. But now there’s other people that depend on me. so that makes me get out of bed.
Mike Munter: Is there anywhere along the way here where you struggled or you faced some self-doubt about what you were doing?
Julie Aragon: Well, in being so young, that was difficult. Because even my own parents at first were like, “I don’t know if I’m going to give you our loan.” This is their biggest asset. Being young definitely was a challenge. Back then, I used to wear fancy Ann Taylor suits. I dressed like an old lady way too soon, just so I could maybe fool myself at first. It was like I needed this “look” to be able to handle that kind of business.
Mike Munter: You seem like a pretty confident person to me?
Julie Aragon: Yeah.
Mike Munter: Once you get something in your mind, it seems like you’re going to go for it and nothing’s going to get in the way.
Julie Aragon: Yeah. And I always think I couldn’t really see myself working for other people. My parents tease me. One of my first jobs was passing out towels at a tennis club and I hated it. It was the worst. I think after three days, I said, “I’m out of here.” I just couldn’t do it. Yeah. So interesting.
Mike Munter: Yeah. Do you want to get into marketing and talk about it? You mentioned realtors before and I imagine they’re a big part of it. What are you doing to help grow the business from a marketing standpoint?
Julie Aragon: Well, about 10 years ago, I had created a marketing video like, “A day in the life.” At that time I wanted to scale, but I couldn’t meet people face to face. So, that video let people into my life and it helped build the brand. Then eventually, we got the website and all kinds of other cool things we do with marketing. But definitely that video helped pave the way for the brand voice and all that other stuff. Especially because, throughout the video, I think I’m drinking the whole time and it just kind of lets people know. When I was single, I remember I’d get a call from a client and it was like, “Oh, well, you know, I’m going out on a hot date. Can I call you tomorrow?” And they’re like, “Oh yeah, get it girl.” Right away, they feel like they’ve got this relationship with me because they’ve seen my apartment, they’ve seen how I am.
Mike Munter: Do you still have that video?
Julie Aragon: I do.
Mike Munter: I would love to link up to it, if you’re agreeable to that?
Julie Aragon: Of course. (video is below)
Mike Munter: That’s the cool thing about video. I think it lets people connect with you in a different way. I get that a lot with my business. Like, “Oh, I saw your video and you looked honest,” or whatever. You’re probably getting, “Oh, I saw you’re video. It looks like you’d be a lot of fun to hang out with.”
Julie Aragon: Right!
Mike Munter: “Let’s do a loan!”
Julie Aragon: Exactly.
Mike Munter: Alright. Can we talk about the future a little bit and where the industry might be going and what you’re excited about?
Julie Aragon: Yeah. We’re growing. We’re looking toward hiring other loan partners and expanding. Also because the business is my name, we’re rebranding to “Aragon Lending Team.” When we’re adding new loan partners, people won’t feel like they need to talk to me. We’ve built a system that is pretty efficient and sprinkles fun throughout the whole process. That’s exciting to see.
Mike Munter: Yeah, the continued growth. Are you willing to be a mentor with someone? If your younger self came along – some 20 year old – do you have time to help someone?
Julie Aragon: I’m mentoring a couple of people right now.
Mike Munter: You are?
Julie Aragon: Yeah. But if people have questions, ok. I get a lot of email from people just starting out and I try to guide them, whether it’s different coaching or programs for people to follow online. Because now there’s some really good coaches.
Mike Munter: Cool. Is there anything that you would like to talk about that I haven’t covered yet? Anything I’ve missed?
Julie Aragon: I don’t think so. Unless you have any other questions?
Mike Munter: I don’t have any other questions.
Julie Aragon: Okay. Well this was fun. Thank you for having me.
Mike Munter: Yep. Thanks, a lot, Julie.
Julie Aragon: Okay. Bye.