Second Shift: Finding power through business
New Yorker Adina Azarian proves you don’t need a college degree to become a successful entrepreneur.
Our Second Shift series features people working more than one job and finding creative ways to make money. This week, meet a New Yorker whose business savvy came from putting herself out there and learning as she went along.
Name: Adina Azarian
Residency: Manhattan and East Hampton
Number of jobs: 2
How did you get into real estate?
I got into it 20 years ago when I was looking for a job. I didn’t have a college degree and the newspaper had ads for either a flight attendant or a real estate agent. The broker sent me to real estate school and I quickly became a top producer in the office. By 24, I was the rental manager. Then, I went off and launched my own firm, Adina Equities.
How did you know how to run your own firm?
I started just working for myself at home. I was closing deals pretty independently anyway. When you’re a real estate agent, you’re an independent contractor, so I got my broker’s license and I was basically doing what I did for someone else, but splitting the commission just for myself. And the rest of it was really just trial and error. … Now, I merged my company with a big franchise called Keller Williams. If you’re a small business, it’s [beneficial] to operate your brand on a [bigger] business’s platform.
Recently you got into the restaurant business, opening the Mediterranean restaurant Adalya. How did that venture come about?
Because I’m a listings broker, I had the listing for the restaurant. Instead of renting it out, they ended up offering to let me get involved as a partner.
How do you balance both jobs? What does your schedule look like?
My role at Adina Equities is really managing my landlord relationships, managing my team and helping when someone wants to apply for an apartment. A lot of that I do virtually, on my phone or iPad. For Adalya, having other partners helps. We all have a “hat” that we wear. I oversee the PR company and our social media. I leverage my contacts to bring more people through the door. If one of my contacts is having an event at the restaurant, I’ll stop by. Most of it is virtual, but I’ll go to the restaurant about two or three nights a week.
Are you happy balancing both jobs?
I love having both businesses and actually want to launch a third business. I like being busy and I really like putting people to work. At Adalya, we have 20 people on payroll. That’s 20 people who didn’t have a job before and I think that’s pretty incredible. That’s meaningful to me. And I really like being a mentor to people at both jobs.
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence