Wes Pinkston and Eric Simon’s The Broke Agent is an Online Real Estate Entertainment Brand Guided by Industry Knowledge and Comedic Know-How.
Written By: Jeff Cooper Meet the Comedic Geniuses Behind The Broke Agent
Photographed By: Kolini Faagata
Experts: Wes Pinkston and Eric Simon
Credentials: Creators, The Broke Agent
Fun Facts: Wes Pinkston is an Orange County Football Hall of Famer turned entrepreneur. Eric Simon is an avid online dater. You can find him on the fab four dating sites.
The Broke Agent’s Wes Pinkston and Eric Simon talk about their wildly popular real estate entertainment brand, how it started and where it’s headed next. Pinkston and Simon are the creators and developers behind The Broke Agent, a brand that clues us into what everyone is thinking but nobody is saying in the world of real estate. They recently revealed themselves as the creative force behind The Broke Agent, having formerly remained anonymous.
The Broke Agent looks at the irony and comedy within the real estate profession. It often focuses on, and makes light of, the challenges facing real estate agents—like quiet open houses or a lack of business. The brand resonates with industry professionals and has gained quite a following. It’s easy to see how much Pinkston and Simon enjoy building the brand. They have firsthand experience working in real estate in various capacities, which has helped them create content that is relatable to their audience. Beyond this, they have an uncanny ability to tap into and make light of the industry’s downsides, and an undeniable talent for comedy writing and social media marketing.
The guys have taken The Broke Agent from an idea during a quiet open house and created a hit—all while reminding us that no matter how bad our day is going, The Broke Agent’s day is going much worse!
Q: Who are you? Tell us about yourselves.
Eric Simon: I went to USC, I am from Arizona, and I am Jewish. It’s safe to say I was the funniest guy in my fraternity and I put it to good use during my time working at the famous Laugh Factory.
Wes Pinkston: I’m also from Arizona, but was raised in San Diego. I went to Chapman University to study business and play football. I had an early education in real estate from my father, and have seen the industry from many different angles. Sports have also always been a big part of my life; being in the sports world has helped me with my work in real estate. It’s a competitive business, but beyond that, sports also helped me understand people. Eric and I have a good cop bad cop routine, and our dynamic works really well.
Q: What does The Broke Agent provide?
WP: We provide real estate entertainment, predominantly comedy. We’ve utilized our strengths to create an alternative voice in the industry. With so many experiences, and mainly interactions with buyers, sellers, and other agents, and hearing all my fellow agents’ stories over time, we searched and realized no one was capturing this other side of the industry. Over a couple of beers we decided to give it a shot, and based off of our feedback and increasing support we are on the right track.
Q: What are you risking to make this a reality?
WP: This is something we are passionate about; we don’t see it as a risk, but an opportunity.
Q: Both of your fathers worked in real estate. What do they think of The Broke Agent?
WP: In the beginning, he was skeptical. But now my dad is fully supportive. He sends me articles and gives me ideas all the time for new content.
ES: My dad always wanted me to work in real estate, like he did. I have an appreciation for what it takes to be successful in the business, and now I have found my own niche in that world. I’d say my dad is not fully supportive—he’d be happy seeing me take a traditional sales approach. My dog, Frizzles, is my biggest supporter. Next is my mom, although both were skeptical at first.
Q: What motivates you down this path?
WP: Simply the feedback from the industry—that’s our motivation. When we hear we made someone’s day better by one of our blog posts, that’s the only motivation we need. We have true, natural support; we’ve barely spent any money on advertising, so the success we’ve seen is pure. Our brand speaks to professionals on a personal level, and it’s motivating to see that connection with our audience.
ES: The support from the industry is what is motivating us, whether it’s agents, title companies, mortgage companies or even the owners of brokerages, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and that’s what gives us the energy to keep producing. We have been asked to speak at Inman Connect in San Francisco, which is a major deal, so we know we are on the right track.
Q: How did you two meet? Had you always planned on going into business together?
WP: We worked out of the same office. We hit it off; he would bring a lot of humor into my work life, which sometimes felt like a war zone. He was a comedic break for me.
ES: I worked at the Laugh Factory, but quit that job and was hired in the same office as Wes. Quickly I saw how stressful the real estate world is, and we realized there is a connection between the stress and some comedic relief. We became good friends in the office and realized we work well together.
Q: How did the idea for The Broke Agent come about?
WP: The idea started organically. We were both working hard, but were in a bit of a sales drought and wanted to pursue a web development idea to make some consistent income. I brought him on board and knew he was a gifted writer so we discussed blogging topics, one thing led to another and we decided to create a real estate blog that addressed the comedic angle of real estate. We quickly came up with the name “The Broke Agent, ” which was available on all social media platforms and that was that.
ES: I had taken a hiatus from real estate for a couple of months. I had been cold-calling, door-knocking and suddenly the funny ideas started coming to me. I was sitting at a quiet open house and started writing them down. It’s funny, because people in real estate are so serious, but we aren’t saving lives, we are selling houses.
Q: What makes now the right time to start this new venture?
WP: We started it back in February, slowly, just a couple posts here and there to test the waters and see if our style of content would be accepted and understood. The momentum has built over time and has solidified our belief in the beginning that it would be beneficial to the industry. The shift has happened naturally and Eric’s writing style is a natural gift, which has benefited us tremendously. We create all content in-house between the two of us, which is rare these days; most blogs are using guest contributor articles. That is not the case with us. We bounce ideas back and forth and we make the content live shortly after.
ES: I work predominately on our content and have a humor background; once the ideas were flowing we knew we had something special. Wes is more the business sense and is great at getting this brand in front of people.
Q: To what do you attribute your rapid growth?
WP: We both are millennials, and there is a huge influx of millennial-aged Realtors entering the business. Eric and I understand how important social media is to our generation, and make our content easily shared and relatable.
ES: We are also one of—if not the only—real estate entertainment brand on Snapchat. We utilize all social media outlets that we can to create a strong social media brand.
Q: What makes the Broke Agent special or helps it resonate with people?
WP: Relatability. It’s a quick dose of relatable humor. As real estate professionals, we are so focused in our daily regimens that we forget to take a break. Our content is formatted to give you a quick break from your hectic work schedule.
ES: The world of real estate is strenuous, and our content allows the industry to get away from the grind for a brief moment. We hear all the time from agents that they sit down and read our blog with a glass of wine to relax at night.
Q: How many people are part of the team?
WP: It’s just the two of us for now. We have several meetings lined up with media companies in the next few weeks that understand our vision and alternative voice. We want the humor to remain true and honest and not waver off of the path that got us this far already. We’ll add new talent as long as it creates even better synergy.
Q: Keeping growth in mind, is there a game plan for expansion down the road?
ES: Yes, we know exactly what we want to accomplish and how to get there in the future. We have several creative projects we are currently working on and we have a couple meetings lined up with independent production studios that understand our vision and want to sit and meet with us. Aside from the traditional social media channels, we have seen incredible interaction on Snapchat, which we are really excited about, as well as our YouTube channel and merchandise. The future is video, which is our top priority going forward.
Q: What are some interesting responses you have had to your work?
WP: Some of the comments and responses that stick out to us most are agents who are down in the dumps. We provide humor they can quickly share with co-workers feeling the same way, or it helps them feel like they aren’t the only person struggling through the day. Some of the most amazing feedback is that our videos are being shown in office meetings around the world.
ES: People tell us that our content gets them through the day. The platform of this humor isn’t even limited to this country—we have had international reach which has been really fun to see.
Q: How do you keep your brand as real estate professionals separate from The Broke Agent?
WP: They are two different entities; our lives in real estate and The Broke Agent are separate projects. What I will say, though, is that we merely make comedy out of what Realtors actually do. Because of this, the industry has been really supportive. We highlight real experiences.
ES: Realtors are such serious people. They are always on call and are always running from one appointment to the next—our content lets them get away. The humor complements the professional world, and we haven’t had any negative feedback.
Q: What advice do you have for young professionals who aspire to have the same success as you?
WP: It sounds so cliché, but follow your passion, follow what you want to do. Connect with people, be socially aware. What are people actually going through? If you can discover that and have enough energy behind it you’ll be able to open some doors.
ES: Keep the social media and blogging industry-specific. I am able to connect real estate to comedy because I know a lot about real estate, and what people in real estate are actually dealing with on a day-to-day basis.